Russia’s strategic airlifer Ilyushin Il-76MD installed with a long-range surveillance and control system will be making its first flight in 2018.
The airborne A-100 Premier system will be installed on an Ilyushin Il-76MD aircraft for the first test that will be run next year.
The plane has been known as 'airborne lab' and has been codenamed as A-100LL. “Our intention is to test and fine tune premier avionics on A-100LL and then move onto an Il-456,” a Defense Ministry official was quoted as saying to Izvestia news daily by Sputnik Monday. If our plan turns out to be successful then the ‘original’ A-100 will make the maiden flight in 2018, he added.
The airborne system delivers the military with surveillance, warning, and control capabilities, detecting fighter jets at a distance of more than 324 nautical miles and identifying ships at 216 nautical miles.
Russia considers this fighter as far greater than the range of the US-made Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS), known as "eye in the sky" by NATO.
The multi-purpose four-engine turbofan strategic airlifter designed by the Ilyushin design bureau, was first planned as a commercial freighter in 1967, as a replacement for the Antonov An-12. It was designed to deliver heavy machinery to remote, poorly served areas of the USSR.