Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A Tactical Airlifter
Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A Tactical Airlifter

First Russian Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A Tactical Airlifter Takes Its First Test Flight

Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) announced today that the first assembled Il-76MD-90A has been submitted for testing. Ilyushin IL-76MD-90A is a new military transport aircraft (code name: IL-476) developed by Ilyushin Aviation Complex, a subsidiary of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). It is a modernised version of the IL-76MD which itself was based on the IL-76 cargo aircraft platform. The first Il-76MD-90A prototype, which was rolled out in December 2011, performed its maiden flight in September 2012.

The construction of two Il-76MD-90A prototypes had begun at the Ulyanovsk facility. The 1st Il-76MD-90A was rolled out at Aviastar’s Ulyanovsk plant on 16 June 2014. On 29 April 2015, it was reported that the Russian Air Force received the first Il-76MD-90A built at the Ulyanovsk plant “Aviastar-SP” from the 2012 contract for 39 aircraft. The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) received its first serial production Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A airlifter on 2 April 2019. As of early 2021, 27 aircraft are ordered to be delivered in the period up to 2028 and 9 had been built.

Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A Tactical Airlifter
The new Il-76MD-90A transport was transferred from the final assembly workshop to the company’s flight test station (LIS) for ground and flight tests.

The increased carrying capacity gives it a significant edge over competing Western aircraft such as the Lockheed Martin C-130 and the Airbus A-400M. The only western aircraft with a higher carrying capacity is the C-17 whose production has ended. The installation of new PS-90A-76 engines, a modified wing and a reinforced landing gear significantly expand the operational capabilities of the aircraft. The cargo carrying capacity has increased from 48 ton for the Ilyushin IL-76 to 60 ton for Il-76MD-90A.

The Ilyushin Il-76 (NATO reporting name: Candid) is a multi-purpose four-engine turbofan strategic airlifter designed by the Soviet Union’s Ilyushin design bureau. It was first planned as a commercial freighter in 1967, as a replacement for the Antonov An-12. It was designed to deliver heavy machinery to remote, poorly served areas. Military versions of the Il-76 have been widely used in Europe, Asia and Africa, including use as an aerial refueling tanker or command center. The Il-76 has seen extensive service as a commercial freighter for ramp-delivered cargo.

Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A Tactical Airlifter
The first serial Il-76MD-90A transport was rolled out in 2015 but during the initial test phase Moscow’s requirements changed which required substantial modifications to the design.

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