Dec 7, 2015
Russian Air Force receives first Il-76MD-90A airlifter
The aircraft, which is the first of an expected 30 upgraded Il-76 'Candid' airlifters to be built through to 2020, was delivered to Ivanovo-Severnyy Airbase about 200 km northeast of Moscow. Also referred to as the Il-476, the Il-76MD-90A made its maiden flight on 22 September 2012. The first aircraft was delivered to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for operational test and evaluation in April 2015.
Developed from the Soviet-era Il-76 'Candid', the Il-76MD-90A features a digital 'glass' cockpit as well as modernised flight, navigation, and communication systems. Structural improvements include a modified wing and reinforced landing gear. The engines have also been updated, giving the aircraft a 60-tonne payload (up from 40 tonnes for the baseline Il-76) and a 12% reduced fuel consumption. The upgraded platform can fly up to 8,500 km with a 20-tonne load or 4,100 km with a 50-tonne load.
While the VVS has a stated requirement for 100 such aircraft (as well as about 40 Il-76MD-90A-derived Il-478 tankers), President Vladimir Putin announced a contract for 39 in October 2012. This number was reduced again to just 30 aircraft earlier this year.
Further to the Il-76MD-90A procurement, the VVS is upgrading 30 to 35 of its existing Il-76s to the Il-76MDM standard. The Il-76MDM modernisation involves refurbishing the aircraft's existing engines and equipping them with many of the new systems installed on the Il-76MD-90A.