Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Russia to Get First 3 New Il-476 Cargo Planes in 2014

The first three modernized Ilyushin heavy-lift transport planes will be delivered to the Russian Defense Ministry in 2014, the aircraft’s designer said on Tuesday.

Ilyushin Aviation Complex said the prototype Il-476, also known as Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A, made the first in a series of trial flights on Monday at a testing center near Moscow.

“The flight lasted one hour and 55 minutes at altitudes between 2,000 and 10,000 meters,” the company’s press service said. 

The promise that three planes could be delivered by next year marks a more ambitious target than that set by Ilyushin general director Viktor Livanov, who told Ekho Moskvy radio station earlier this month that the goal was for two aircraft.

A planned test flight last week was postponed due to bad weather.

Ilyushin says the test program will consist of a series of 22 flights. Technicians will collect and process data after every flight to make any required improvements.

The Il-476 is a modernized version of the Il-76 Candid transport plane and features a new wing, a fully digital flight control system, a new cockpit with advanced digital displays and PS-90A-76 turbofans with improved fuel efficiency, according to state-run aerospace holding United Aircraft Corporation.

Russia's Defense Ministry signed a contract last October for the delivery of 39 Il-476s, to be built before 2018.

UAC said on Tuesday it was in talks with the Defense Ministry over a contract for an unspecified number of Il-78 tanker aircraft, which are modeled on the Il-76MD-90A.

Aviastar, which manufactures the Ilyushin, says it hopes to build up to 100 Il-76MD-90As by 2020 for Russian state customers. 

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