Russian Tu-214R intelligence gathering plane exposed! First photo of the new spyplane during test flight lands on the Web.
Evgeny Volkov is the name of the photographer who took the first picture of a flying Russian Tu-214R known to date.
The image Evgeny has uploaded to the Russianplanes.net portal, shows the Tu-214R carring registration number RA-64511, serial number 42305011, serial number 511, built by the Kazan Aircraft Production Association’s (KAPO) and flown at the company’s airfield.
Although some sources say that the plane will serve as an airborne command post, the two Tu-214R being built under contract with Russia’s Ministry of Defense, will be also ELINT (Electronic Intelligence)/ SIGINT (Signal Intelligence) platforms.
Indeed, the aircraft features the same types of external bulges of other very well known intelligence gathering planes, as the U.S. RC-135 or the Israeli B-707 with the Phalcon system.
The aircraft depicted in the image made its first flight in December 2009 and it is expected to complete the flight testing phase by 2013.
The second example, registered RA-64514, serial number 42305014, serial number 514, is currently in final assembly shop at KAPO and it is scheduled to enter service in 2014.
A special Tu-214 version, designated Tu-214ON, fitted with four photographic and three TV cameras, synthetic aperture radar and a linear-scanning infrared sensor, was developed to perform monitoring and observation flights under the Open Skies Treaty.
The Tu-214ON (registration RA-64519) attended MAKS 2011 airshow.