Big is cool, proved the Ilyushin design bureau when it launched the Il-76 in 1971. The days of the Candid, the name NATO gave to it, are far from numbered as the Russian plane makers are in full swing to make the trustworthy lady turn 90.
The Russian Ministry of Defence prepares for the go-ahead to serial produce the yet newest version of the strategic freighter: the IL-76MD-90A. It flew first on July 10th, 2013, from the Gromov Zhukovsky airfield in Russia and subsequently made two more test flights in the two days after.
It even looks like the Ilyushin and Russian defence guys can’t wait to get the new aviastar rolling out in numbers from the Ulyanovsk aircraft factory, located near the Volga river in southwestern Russia.
,,The test program will first focus on operation of the aircraft and evaluation of systems like flight control, navigation, autopilot, IFF transponder and radio communication”, writes a company spokesperson in a press release.
The MD-90 upgrade of the old IL-76 model features a new wing, more powerful engines, an improved fuel system, digital sight and navigation system, a cruise control and a so-called glass cockpit where traditional meters have been replaced by LCD screens.
At first three production models will be made, with customer delivery already planned as early as 2014.
© 2013 AIRheads’ Marcel Burger