Saturday, January 28, 2023

Russia Rolls Out ‘Most Advanced’ Il-76 MD Aircraft For Its Aerospace Force; Joins Su-30SM2 & Su-35C Fighter Jets

The Russian defense ministry has received another military transport aircraft, Il-76MD-90A, from the United Aircraft Corporation, a division of the state-owned company Rostec. 

The latest delivery was completed under a contract made by the Ministry of Defense. Rostec, on November 28, also said in a statement that it is stepping up the production of these aircraft for the Russian defense department. 

The Director General of the United Aircraft Corporation, Yuri Slyusar, said, “The delivery of new transport planes is our contribution to meeting the requirements for military transport aircraft and strengthening the country’s defense capability. Today, the latest Il-76MD-90A is on the assembly line.”

“The enterprise is laying the production groundwork for the next year. Several aircraft slated for delivery in 2023 are in various degrees of readiness in the workshops,” he added. 

The new machine came equipped with the more modern PS-90A-76 engines, an improved chassis with a more powerful braking system, and the installation of digital onboard radio-electronic equipment with a screen indicator. The aircraft’s flight range and carrying cargo have increased due to modernization, Rostec said.

Russia Aerospace Force receives upgraded Il 76MD 90A Il 76MD M aircraft 01
Il-76MD-90A. This heavy airlifter can transport 126 paratroopers with parachutes, 145 personnel in the single-deck version, and 225 – in the double-deck (Picture source: Ilyushin)

The West has imposed severe sanctions to damage the Russian defense industry at home, but Moscow’s state-owned defense firms have been providing Russian forces with weapons on time.

Chemezov said that they are carrying out routine aircraft deliveries in the best interests of the Ministry of Defense. He added that the fighter units Su-30SM2 and Su-35C, front-line bombers Su-34, and combat training aircraft Yak-130 have already been transferred to their units this year. 

The EurAsian Times previously reported that United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), on November 21, 2022, provided the Russian Ministry of Defense with a set of brand-new Su-30SM2 fighters and Yak-130 combat trainers (RuMoD).

The Su-30 is a new modernized version of the Sukhoi Su-30SM Flanker-H. The updated version, known as the Su-30SM2, uses the operational lessons that the Russian Air Force acquired during its aerial operations in Syria.

Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A (Il-476) Aircraft

Ilyushin Aviation Complex, a part of a United Aircraft Corporation subsidiary, developed the modernized military transport aircraft known as the Il-76MD-90A under the code name Il-476. 

Ilyushin-76
File Image: IL-76

It is an upgraded version of the Il-76MD, built on the Il-76 freight plane chassis. The first Il-76MD-90A prototype had its debut flight in September 2012 after unveiling in December 2011.

Initially, Russia planned to acquire nearly 40 new Ilyushin Il-76-MD-90A aircraft by 2020. But, the first serial Il-76MD-90A aircraft, serial number 0109, was handed over to the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Defense in April 2019.

The Russian Ministry of Defense was dissatisfied with the aircraft’s production output and had even urged manufacturer Aviastar to increase output. As of early 2021, nine aircraft in total had been built.

In early October 2022, the Russian air force received another modernized Il-76MD-90A aircraft from the UAC. The freight plane incorporates cutting-edge elements such as a redesigned wing section, a new cockpit with advanced avionics, and robust engines. 

The aircraft measures 46.6 meters in length, 14.76 meters in height, 50.50 meters in wingspan, and 300 meters in trapezoidal wing area. The aircraft’s middle section diameter and outer wheel track length are 4.8 meters and 8.16 meters, respectively.

The maximum takeoff weight for the Il-76MD-90A is 210 tons, while its cargo limit is 52 tons. The Il-76MD-90A’s upgraded glass cockpit comprises three intelligent control panels and a KSEIS-KN-76 aircraft status master monitor display system with eight multipurpose liquid crystal displays. 

First in line Il 76MD 90A assembled and handed over for testing in Ulyanovsk
First in-line Il-76MD-90A assembled and handed over for testing in Ulyanovsk (Picture source: UAC/United Aircraft Corporation)

The aircraft has an aerial-delivery system (ADS) for dropping supplies, transporting military cargo pallets and containers, and delivering parachutes for troops.

The cargo cabin of the aircraft is 24.5 meters in length (with a ramp), 3.45 meters in width, and 3.4 meters in height. The interior space of the freight cabin is 321 cubic meters. In a single-deck configuration, the Il-76MD-90A can accommodate 126 parachutists or 145 troops, and in a double-deck configuration, 225 personnel. 

The Il-76MD-90A was outfitted with four fourth-generation PS-90A-76 turbofan bypass engines with 4:4 bypass ratios. Each engine has a maximum continuous thrust of 14,500kgf. It uses 12% less fuel and has an 18% longer flight range.

The transport plane can travel at 820-850 km/h and operate at a maximum altitude of 12,000 meters. The aircraft has a maximum range of 8,500 kilometers.

The IL-76MD-90A military transport plane has a 30-year lifespan. The aircraft can log a maximum of 30,000 flying hours throughout its service life.

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