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digital sight and navigation system, a cruise control and a so-called glass cockpit where traditional meters have been replaced by LCD screens.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).
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.