In a year which has seen fast-track deliveries from industry to Russia’s Armed Forces, a Il-76MD-90A military transport aircraft built at the Ulyanovsk Aviastar-SP JSC (part of the United Aircraft Corporation JSC) reportedly completed its maiden flight on 6 December. This is the third newly built Il-76MD-90A aircraft to have taken to the air in 2020. The contract between UAC and VKS includes 39 Il-76 military transport aircraft, a type used since Soviet times.
Russian experts claim that this aircraft is new due to having key features such as the PS-90A engines alongside a modern flight and navigation system. During the Soviet era, Ilyushin aircraft were produced in Tashkent, now part of Uzbekistan. Russia has therefore shifted the production line to Ulyanosk on the banks of the Volga River where the machine drawings were digitised, allowing improvement to the production line and speeding up modernisation .
The new aircraft also features:
- an improved wing design with four Perm-made PS90A-76 engines which have a thrust of 14.5t each
- a reinforced landing gear to enable use on all types of airfield
- upgraded electronic and navigation systems
- an airborne defence suite to defend against anti-aircraft missiles
- a modern cockpit with six LCD screens
- a new emergency evacuation system has also been installed
The width and height of the cargo cabin are 3.45 and 3.4 metres respectively, in order to transport equipment including tanks and missile launchers. The Il-76 MD 90A can carry 126 paratroopers with full equipment, or 145 soldiers in a single-deck version and 225 in a double-deck version. The service life of the Il-76MD-90A is 30 years and can be extended if necessary. The aircraft is capable of transporting 60 t of cargo over a distance of 4000 km. The new engines have a drastically lower noise level and a fuel consumption ratio as 187 gram/t/km to allow commercial operations as well.
IL-76 MD 90A Export Prospects
Almost 900 examples of the Il-76 have been produced, with models exported to over 30 countries in both military and commercial applications. This autumn, Russia gave a demonstration to the Indian Air Force as to how the Il-76 can be used for so-called carpet bombing. The MoD also released a video demonstrating offensive capabilities in the Tver region of Russia, where the flight altitude varied from 300 to 1000m, and the speed exceeded 500 km / h.
According to the source, the flights were attended by the crews of the Tver, Pskov and Ivanovo air regiments, including young pilots. Each of the crew members flew at least three sorties. India currently has a fleet of 17 Il-76 transport aircraft, as well as seven Il-78 air tankers to allow the IAF to carry out similar missions.