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09:29 AM, December 28, 2018
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Aerial Refueling Tanker II-78M-90A (image: UAC)

Russian state-run United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) has begun factory flight tests of Il-78M-90A, the upgraded variant of it's aerial refueling tanker Ilyushin II-78, at the airfield compkex Ulyanovsk-Vostochny after completing ground-level testing of the systems.

The aircraft will be handed over to state trials after the completion of the factory tests, the company said Thursday.

Il-78M-90A tanker can also be used as a military transport plane by dismantling the fuel tanks compartment. In the long term, the Il-78M-90A will become the main tanker of the Russian Long-Range Aviation, the company stated.

The perspective aerial refueling plane is powered by four PS-90A-76 new-generation engines and can take a larger amount of fuel on board for aircraft refueling compared to previous models. These engines consume 12-14% less fuel than D-30KP motors mounted on earlier modifications of aerial fueling tankers.

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