The Russian Ministry of Defense is planning a large order of modernized Il-76MD-90A military transport aircraft over the coming decade.
Russian Ministry of Defense has announced its plan to acquire over 100 Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A military aircraft before 2030.
“This is the main aircraft in Defense Ministry’s plans. Potentially, the MoD plans to buy more than 100 aircraft, and this number will increase if we add flying tankers produced on the basis of this plane,” Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told state news agency TASS Thursday.
The Russian Defense Ministry will get the first serial Il-76MD-90A military transport plane next week, Russian aircraft manufacturer and design bureau Ilyushin said on Thursday.
The first serial Il-76MD-90A military transport plane will be delivered to the MoD next week. “The first serial plane is fully ready. It is expected to be handed over next week,” TASS quoted a source from the Ilyushin company as saying.
In late 2012, Russia signed a contract worth 140 billion rubles ($2.1 billion) with the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) for 39 Il-76MD-90A military transport planes to the Russian Armed Forces.
Since 2014, no Il-76MD-90A planes have been handed over to the Russian Armed Forces. Prior to that, the military transport aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces received two such aircraft as a pre-production delivery.
The Il-76MD-90A is an upgraded version of the IL-76MD, which is based on the IL-76 cargo aircraft platform.
The latest modification is distinguished by new equipment, including a glass cockpit, modern PS-90A-76 engines, a modified wing and reinforced chassis. Il-76MD-90A is used to develop Il-78M-90A air tanker.
The Il-76MD-90A is a successor to the prolific Soviet Ilyushin Il-76, introduced in 1974 by Tashkent Aviation Production Association of Uzbekistan as a replacement for the ageing Antonov An-12.
The Il-76 cemented its status as the Soviet Union’s staple troop carrier during the Soviet-Afghan war, transporting hundreds of thousands of Red Army soldiers at relatively low attrition rates.
The Il-76 has since spawned dozens of variants from aerial firefighters to flying hospitals, all of them based on the same increasingly outdated frame, wing design, and engine.
Amid ongoing concerns about the continued viability of the Il-76 planes currently deployed in Syria, Oleg Felichev of the Russian defence journal VPK offers a dire assessment of Russia’s military transport fleet: “We must admit that most of the aircraft fleet was built during the Soviet era or in the ‘90s,” writes Felichev.“ these are outdated An-12, An-22, An-26, An-72, An-124 and Il-76 aircraft of various modifications. Many of them are almost exhausted.”
The Il-76MD-90 is a prominent showcase in Russia’s effort to replace its oldest Soviet-Era transport planes with refreshed models. The Il-76MD-90A first flew in 2012, but development stalled as Illyushin struggled to implement the ambitious internal redesign at acceptable manufacturing costs and quality control levels.