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9 Jul, 2018 12:30

Russia’s advanced jamming plane to get new body as part of overhaul – report

Russia’s advanced jamming plane to get new body as part of overhaul – report

The Russian military’s cutting-edge jamming equipment, currently used on the Il-22PP electronic warfare aircraft, may soon get an upgrade and a brand new air-frame instead of the decades-old design used now.

“Porubshchik” (a slang term for “tree cutter” in Russian) is the nickname of a specialized aircraft currently used by the Russian armed forces to disrupt enemy communications and radar systems. Also known as “Izdelie L-415” and Il-22PP, the electronic warfare plane was put in service in 2016.

Its drawback is that the aircraft is based on an outdated Il-18 civilian design, which made its maiden flight in the late 1950s. It may still be remarkable in terms of endurance, which explains why some variants are still in use by the Russian military as flying labs or airborne command points, but there is a limit on how long you can push an aircraft design through upgrades.

The original Il-22PP remains a formidable asset, capable of totally disrupting enemy communications while not affecting those of friendly troops. But the work on its replacement, a “Porubshchik-2”, is under way, and the new version will be based on a more modern air-frame, an industry source told RIA Novosti.

“It will definitely have a new air-frame. The Tu-214 and the Il-76 are being considered,” the source said.

Tupolev’s Tu-214 is a variant of the Tu-204 design, which has been used since the late 1990s. This model is expected to be used, for example, for Russian air patrols over NATO nations under the Open Skies agreement, once it is fully certified by member states. Several are used as airborne command points for the Russian president or communication relays.

Ilyushin’s Il-76 is a somewhat older design and is best known as a strategic airlifter. One of its variants, the Beriev A-50, is Russia’s counterpart to AWACS, an airborne radar station.

The source said Il-22PP’s electronic equipment will also be upgraded as part of the transition.

“The onboard equipment will be new and capable of jamming all sorts of targets: on the ground, airborne, naval. It will disable enemy satellites, which provide navigation and communication on the ground,” the source said.