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digital sight and navigation system, a cruise control and a so-called glass cockpit where traditional meters have been replaced by LCD screens.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).
LATEST UPDATE 1 APRIL 2014 (ADDITIONAL PHOTO AND MISSION SPECS) | The Ukrainian Air Force started its low-key annual military transport operation with NATO-members Denmark and the US on 13 March 2014, part an air transport and technical agreement made by the two countries years ago.
During operation Northern Falcon 2014 an Ukrainian AF IL-76MD (Іл-76МД, NATO reporting name Candid) strategic airlifter from Melitopol Airbase near the Crimean peninsula took off from Borispol airport for Aalborg Airbase in Denmark. After picking up equipment at the Danish Air Force base the mission goes to Thule Air Base on Greenland, run by the US Air Force’s 821st Air Base Group. Thule is the US military’s northernmost installation, located 750 miles (1207 km) north of the Arctic Circle.
As of 28 March 2014 the Ukrainian “Candid” already completed 11 missions included transport of over 137 tons of cargo and more than 166 thousand liters of fuel, accumulating more than 51 flight hours since the start of the operation. Amongst the cargo are seven 50 m3 fuel tanks that are too big to be transported on board the Royal Danish Air Force’s own C-130J Super Hercules aircraft.
Thule Air Base
Thule Air Base is home to the 21st Space Wing’s global network of sensors providing missile warning, space surveillance and space control to North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and Air Force Space Command. The base hosts the 12th Space Warning Squadron who operates a Ballistic Missile Early Warning System designed to detect and track ICBMs launched against North America. Thule is also host to Detachment 1 of the 23rd Space Operations Squadron, part of the 50th Space Wing’s global satellite control network. Thule has a 10,000 foot runway and services 3,000 flights per year.
The 20 Ukrainian troops tasked and their IL-76MD are tasked with transporting 600 thousand litres (157,032 gallons) of fuel and other cargo from Thule to Constable Pynt (Point), the airstrip of the Danish most remote forward location called Station Nord in East Greenland. Only 933 km (504 nm) from the North Pole it is a science station manned 24/7 by a small detachment of 5 volunteering military men from the three branches of the Danish armed forces that provide dog sledge patrols.
The air bridge provided by the Ukrainian Candid is the life line of the station. The plan is to execute 58 missions with a total of 100 flight hours in the skies over Greenland, during which temperatures can drop as low as -50 degrees Celsius (-58 Fahrenheit) and wind speeds up to 20 metres (60 feet) per second. In fact, during the last weekend of April the Ukrainian IL-76 crew had to combat a snow storm with 2 metres fresh white powder at Station Nord.
The flights are executed without the help of radio navigation equipment on the ground and without alternative landing spot. The final flight of Northern Falcon 2014 is planned for 10 April.
Source: Ukrainian Ministry of Defence / US Air Force / Danish Ministry of Defence / Flyvevåbnet
UPDATE 11 MARCH 2014 | About 250 Russian IL-76 strategic airlifters plan to make a combined total of 4,000 parajump sorties in March, says the Russian Ministry of Defence in a press release on 6 March 2014. The release contains more big numbers that we at AIRheads↑Fly frankly think are quite impressive if Russia manages to pull them off.
One of the units involved is the 98th Guards Airborne Division out of Ivanovo near Moscow, which will do its training ops from 11 to 14 March. The unit will take part in one massive jump of 3,500 troopers, plus some combat vehicles, for which about 36 transport aircraft have been allocated to the unit.
The Airborne Troops Command (VDV for Vozdushno-desantnye voyska or in Russian Воздушно-десантные войска) is planning a total of 40,000 jumps by 17,000 troops from 40 units. Part of the operations will be done in the Arctics.
The troops will jump with equipment and weaponry. The IL-76s involved will likely be a mixture of those of the Russian Air Force (Военно-воздушные cилы России or Voyenno-Vozdushnye Sily Rossii) and national carrier Aeroflot.
Boeing delivered the first Kuwait Air Force C-17 Globemaster III to the Southwest Asian country on 13 February 2014. It fits the growing ambitions of the oil state.
“The C-17 meets the unique airlift requirements of the Kuwait Air Force,” said Col. Abdullah Al Foudari, Deputy Commander Kuwait Air Force upon delivery. “With this airlifter we can more effectively participate in the operations we choose, transporting large payloads across long distances, flying at high altitudes in hot climates such as ours, and landing on short, unpaved runways.”
A custom paint design distinguishes the Kuwait C-17, with registration KAF 342, from the 259 others that have been delivered to customers around the world.
“When this C-17 arrives to deliver humanitarian aid or disaster relief anywhere in the world, people in need will know that the aid came from Kuwait,” according to Col. Abdullah.
Boeing has delivered 260 C-17s, including 223 to the U.S. Air Force, and a total of 37 to Kuwait, Australia, Canada, India, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations.
The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) fourth Boeing C-17 Globemaster III left Long Beach on October 19th for the delivery flight to India. The aircraft was seen at Brize Norton in the UK while on its way to India.
IAF’s C-17 number 5 will follow before the end of the year, with another five aircraft scheduled for 2014 to complete the contract according to Boeing. But the Indian Air Force is eying seven additional C-17s, which Boeing can easily provide since it is producing another 15 aircraft which have officially have not even been ordered yet. Question is, who gets the last seven?
Boeing has so far delivered 258 C-17s, including 223 to the U.S. Air Force and a total of 35 to Australia, Canada, India, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations. The C-17 officially entered Indian Air Force service on September 2nd, 2013.’