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Russian military confident in Tu-214R capabilities after ELINT missions in Syria.

| 2016
World Defense & Security News - Russia
Russian military confident in Tu-214R capabilities after ELINT missions in Syria
The Russian Defense Ministry has called the Tupolev Tu-214R electronic/electro-optical intelligence (ELINT/EO-MASINT) aircraft’s operations in Syria a success and the plane itself combat-ready, according to the Izvestia daily.
Russian military confident in Tu 214R capabilities after ELINT missions in Syria 640 001Russia reportedly deployed one of its Tu-214R ELINT aircraft in Syria on July 29, 2016
With its ability to spot enemy positions, combat vehicles, headquarters and signal nodes by means of its ELINT/EO-MASINT systems, the Tu-214R has been a most problem-ridden program pursued by Russia’s aircraft industry to date. In particular, the date of its delivery to the Russian Aerospace Force (RusAF) has slipped several times, and the Defense Ministry in 2012 even filed a suit against the Kazan Aircraft Production Plant to the tune of 1.2 billion rubles ($18 million) with a court of arbitration for the manufacturer’s failure to deliver "the special-purpose aircraft" on time.

The Defense Ministry has drafted a report on the results produced by the Tu-214R. The aircraft has really proven itself. It has fulfilled all of the missions assigned and its equipment has operated without glitches worth mentioning. After the operation, the aircraft was recognized as fully capable in operational terms, a source in the Defense Ministry, who is close to the issue, has said.

The source noted that for the first time, the cutting-edge recce plane had operated from Khmeimim air base in Syria, rather than from the airfield of the Kazan Aircraft Production Plant where it is based and where the manufacturer’s personnel service it.

The Tu-214R’s avionics and mission payload need thorough expert maintenance and special infrastructure. While these are available at the manufacturer’s airfield in Kazan, but the plane has been maintained by its crew and by the teams dispatched by the manufacturers of its equipment, with no failures recorded.

According to the Flightradar24 website, the recce aircraft (side number RF-64514, the second plane in the three-ship series) arrived at Khmeimim AB on February 15 this year and had flown recce sorties in the Syrian skies before early March.

Based on the results the recce plane produced in Syria, Tupolev asked the Kazan Aircraft Production Plant, Vega Corp. and several other firms to reward their personnel participating in the Tu-214R’s operations in Syria. This has been confirmed to the Izvestia by several companies, but Tupolev’s press office has declined to comment.

The Tu-214R is being co-developed by Tupolev and Vega, with several subcontractors participating, the latter being subsidiaries of the United Instrument Corporation (UIC), Roscosmos Corp. and Almaz-Antei Corp. The conversion of ordinary Tu-214 airliners to the recce version, during which they are fitted with the Fraktsiya ELINT system, EO-MASINT systems and other airborne equipment, is handled by the Kazan Aircraft Production Plant.

According to the July 24, 2012 resolution of the Arbitration Court of the Republic of Tatarstan on Case A65-20621/2011, the first production-standard Tu-214R was due to the Defense Ministry before December 30, 2008, but the delivery slipped behind schedule due to problems with flight tests and avionics. In its lawsuit to the plant and Tupolev, Military Unit 45807, the customer, sought a penalty of 1.2 billion rubles.

Late in the same year, the Russian military decided against buying the second and third production-standard Tu-214Rs, because the tests had revealed that the planes’ failure to meet the flight endurance and loitering time requirements.

However, according to the source in the aircraft industry, familiar with the state of the affairs, most of the problems have been fixed. In particular, extra flight tests have ironed out the problems with the Tu-214R’s flight characteristics and the plane’s reconnaissance, and other equipment has been improved.

The test flights have been conducted by joint crews of test pilots with the Kazan Aircraft Production Plant, Gromov Flight Research Institute and GLITs State Flight Research Center. The work was difficult enough. Modifications to the airborne radio technical equipment and a number of other systems had to be introduced too.

The Tu-214R flew to Khmeimim AB on July 29, 2016 for the second time on a special mission as part of the RusAF’s ongoing operation in Syria, according to the Izvestia daily.
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