TEL AVIV, Israel — Israeli satellite imagery confirms redeployment of at least one Russian A-50 Aerial Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) in Syria. 

Imagery captured May 3 by the ImageSat International (ISI) Eros B satellite, published here for the first time, shows the Russian special mission aircraft deployed at the Latakia Air Base in Syria.  

The deployment, less than a month after a US Tomahawk cruise missile strike on a key regime air base, significantly augments Russia's ability to defend the entire airspace over Syria against aircraft or missile attack.

The upgraded A-50, a Russian special mission aircraft, were captured by ImageSat International deployed at the Latakia Air Base in Syria.

Photo Credit: ImageSat International

Just a week ago, Sergei Rudskoy, head of the Russian General Staff Operations Directorate, announced that Moscow had deployed a "multi-level control system" capable of detecting hostile threats in the Syrian  airspace.

Produced by the Beriev Aircraft Company, upgraded A-50U versions of the aircraft are designed to detect airborne threats from 650 kilometers away and ground targets at 300 kilometers. The aircraft uniquely serves as a command post where it can control nearly a dozen fighters while defending against ground targets and surface ships.

Online reporting from Russia cited initial A-50 deployment in late 2015, but the aircraft returned to home bases as part of partial drawdown announced by President Vladimir Putin in March 2016.

Opall-Rome is Israel bureau chief for Defense News. She has been covering U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation, Mideast security and missile defense since May 1988. She lives north of Tel Aviv. Visit her website at

More In Mideast Africa