New Russian surveillance jets will be able to see objects under the cover of snow, through tree branches and even underground, an insider who is involved in the country's electronic warfare development boasted to Russian state news agency Itar-Tass.
According to a source in Russia's military industrial complex, Russia's surveillance jets are currently being upgraded with new Russian-made equipment which will seriously increase their monitoring capabilities.
"The multi-frequency radio-locator, developed and manufactured by our radio engineering corporation 'Vega' allows information to be received with optimum efficiency with much greater image quality and detail," he told Tass.
"The on board information gives detailed radio-located images of sites hidden in fog, smoke, snow, soil and flora."
The source told Tass that the new upgrade will allow the jet to track targets which are "tens of metres" underground irrespective of the altitude at which the plane is travelling. The upgrades are being made to the Tu-214R surveillance jet and tests by the manufacturers of the new upgraded kit are ongoing.
Plans to replace Russia's existing surveillance jets with initial versions of the Tu-214R were reportedly abandoned in 2013, after the Russian Ministry of Defence were displeased with tests of the aircraft and were prepared to cancel further orders after receiving the first two units, Russian newspaper Izvestia reported.
However, the insider told Tass that the new Tu-214R jet is scheduled for government tests in the latter half of this year where officials will decide if they are interested in ordering the revamped units.
The jet itself is a modified passenger plane using as a basis the Tu-214 jet which Russia is allowed to fly over European and US skies on registered, unarmed patrol flights as per the 'Open Skies' treaty signed in 1992.
Since relations between the West and Russia have worsened over the Ukraine crisis, Russia has increased what it calls 'patrol flights' of unannounced aircraft in European airspace, which have not been welcomed by Russia's European neighbours.