First Pic: Russia’s Newest Spy Plane

I’ve been looking for this for a long time. It’s a picture — the first public one, actually — of Russia’s Tu-214R spy plane on a recent test flight near its factory in Kazan.

No one is quite sure what it will do. Some say it will serve as an airborne command post (those radomes make me think an E-8 JSTARS -style ISR/C2 plane rather than an E-4B or an E-6 Mercury) while other say it will be used to scoop up massie quantities of electronic and signals intelligence (ELINT/SIGINT) the way the RC-135 Rivet Joint does. Both theories make sense given the size of the plane and the shape of its numerous radomes. Still, the lack of a massive canoe-saped radome containing a ground-scaning radar on the belly of the plane seems to suggest the Tu-114R is designed for ELINT and SIGINT missions.

This particular bird, number RA-64511, first flew in 2009 and is expected to complete flight testing next year. A second Tu-124R is being built right now with an in service date of 2014.

Via the Aviationist and



  • McPosterdoor

    No one takes my massie quantities and gets away with it.

    • Richard

      unless they have a massive canoe-saped radome.

      • Logan

        Containing a ground-scaning radar, no less.

  • Marcase

    Those “cheeck” arrays could be SLARs, no need for real “canoes” anymore with todays EM wavers. I’d go for JSTARS equivalent sprinkled with some Rivet Joint.

  • Pat

    I know this is totally irrelevant, but does anyone know what class or kind of ship is going to replace the Ticonderoga Class cruisers???

    • PMI

      Flight III Arleigh Burkes

  • Ara


  • Sulaw00

    No one is forcing you to read this.

  • Gary Sanders

    So it’s come to this. Every other post now is of something David Cenciotti put out a week ago. Wow.

  • Lance

    Definitely got the idea of this plane from the E-8 JSTAR and or a EC-135. Nice looking plane though.

  • matt

    The JSTARski

  • Boswell

    So is it a Tu-214R, Tu-114R, or Tu-124R?

    • So?


  • Consultant In Action

    We can thank P. Obams for many of our shortcomings for the next twenty years
    For he’s more of a Socialist, well, OK Communiist or sympathiser at best. Do you recall his telling Putin, wait until I’m ReElected, I’ll have more Flexibility??????What did he mean by that?????? He meant he will eliminate most if not all our Military Commitments. He will be giving all of the Mid East Muslims a boost, Illegals a Vote and yes, he will be selling out America….Vote Romney

  • Consultant In Action

    Fix the F 22, Fix the VA, Fix the Debt by getting people back to work. Next, we need to get prople off Welfare, Food Stamps and above all, Pay our Military What they Deserve.
    These Men and Women, the Finest Military in the World, they represent us, they Defend our Principles and they Give their lives for us, yes, you and I, we the American People…Vote for Romney/Ryan – Keep the Dream Alive and God Bless America

  • DBM

    The Russians design first rate stuff and build junk. They will keep this thing grounded as much as possible to keep it in flying condition and they will also use the electronics as sparingly as possible. The airframe itself looks like an airbus.