Russian airplane design bureau Ilyushin says the company expects the first new IL-76MD-90A strategic airlifter to be delivered to the Russian Air Force in 2014 and another two in 2015, according to its chief designer to Russian press agency ITAR-TASS on Wednesday 19 March 2014.
The MD-90 upgrade of the old IL-76 model features a new wing, more powerful engines (PS-90A-76), 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digital sight and navigation system, a cruise control and a so-called glass cockpit where traditional meters have been replaced by LCD screens.
The next decade or so 39 aircraft have been ordered. According to ITAR-TASS production is planned in Tashkent, while Ilyushin earlier said Ulyanovsk’s Aviastar plant would do the job. Russian media regularly report the aircraft as IL-476, which has been Ilyushin’s project name for the modernisation process that started in 2006. The first flight tests with the IL-76MD-90A were in September 2012. The aircraft has an increased air-drop load, which makes it useful in transport and support of the Russian Airborne Troops Command (VDV for Vozdushno-desantnye voyska or in Russian Воздушно-десантные войска).
© 2014 AIRheads’ Marcel Burger with technical information from Ilyushin