"We have every reason to hope that we’ll be able to test fly the plane before the end of this year,” Nasenkov said, adding that talking about the A-100’s mass production now would be premature.
Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said in May that testing of Russia’s all-new AWACS plane could begin in July.
"This is a priority for our state armament program. I can tell you all that work is in progress and is strictly on schedule and we'll get down to state trial testing in July," Borisov said.
The Beriyev A-100, which is based on the Il-76MD-90A transport aircraft, was first tested in flight on a flying laboratory in April.
The A-100, already nicknamed “a flying mushroom” due to the distinctive rotating radar dome above the fuselage, is an upgrade of its A-50 predecessor that first flew in 1978 and entered service in 1984.
Its avionics and configuration are similar to the A-50’s, but the A-100 is built around a new multilateration radar unit featuring a pair of phased-array antennas capable of detecting enemy fighter planes at a distance of up to 600 kilometers (372 miles) and surface ships up to 400 kilometers (250 miles) away.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that as part of the ongoing R&D process, Russia plans to build two A-100 Premier planes – a flying lab and a test aircraft.