British intelligence wrote that Russia "for the first time" began using the A-50 Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft to detect targets over Ukraine, but this is an exaggeration and speculation.
In a recent update of the British Ministry of Defense, it is said that the Russians probably used the A-50 long-range radar detection aircraft for the first time to identify targets over Ukraine for the S-400 anti-aircraft missile complex.
The British intel write that this complements the main task of the A-50 to coordinate fighter aviation.
Compared to a conventional ground-based radar, the aircraft can be used to detect aircraft at long distances.
"Russia has likely expedited integrating MAINSTAY and SA-21 partially because it is concerned about the prospect of Ukraine deploying Western-provided combat aircraft. There is a realistic possibility that Russia will accept more risk by flying MAINSTAY closer to the front-line in order to effectively carry out its new role," the post reads.
LIGA.net's source in Air Force Command, who is familiar with the matter, said that such reports are an exaggeration, as the Russians have been using A-50s for various purposes throughout the full-scale invasion.