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09:36 AM, June 15, 2017
Russia’s First Upgraded Il-76MD-M Airlifter Prototype Makes First Flight
Russian upgraded Il-76MD-M Airlifter prototype (Image: UAC)

Russian first upgraded heavy military transport aircraft Il-76MD-M prototype made its first flight at Ilyushin aviation complex. 

The flight, which lasted more than six hours, was carried out from LII. MM Gromov in Zhukovsky air field near Moscow by the Ministry of Defense. The plane was piloted by a joint team of test pilots of SV Ilyushin aviation complex and State Flight Test Center of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, UAC said in a statement Wednesday.

SV Ilyushin signed a contract to upgrade the first batch of military transport aircraft Russian Il-76MD to Il-76MD-M.  The upgrades are in accordance to the tactical and technical requirements, approved by the Aerospace Forces of the Russian MoD to modernize the existing fleet of heavy military transport aircraft Il-76MD and aircraft-tankers Il-78 and Il-78M. 

"The beginning stage of state joint tests - a very important event for us. Modernization of aircraft Il-76MD system, can extend their service and improve combat effectiveness, to prepare for a massive shift to the new Il-76MD-90A,” General Director of Ilyushin, Alexey Rogozin said. 

The modernization includes a new flight navigation system, replaced lighting, airborne transport and household equipment, as well as defense and communication systems.  The upgrading will improve the service life of Il-76MD-90A tanker and Il-78M-90A units. 

The state joint tests of Il-76MD-90A is scheduled for completion in 2019.

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