Russia’s new aerial refueling tanker will likely undergo first flight tests in July, Ilyushin Aircraft Company First Deputy CEO Pavel Cherenkov said on Monday.
"The Il-78M-90A aircraft built at the Ulyanovsk-based Aviastar-SP Aviation Enterprise is now undergoing its stage of ground trials that include, in particular, a check of its fuel system. Once they are over, the refueling aircraft will be delivered for a paint finish, after which it will be transferred presumably to the Ilyushin Company in July for factory flight tests. Everything is proceeding according to the standard procedure and there are no schedule delays," Cherenkov was quoted as saying by TASS.
The aircraft is currently undergoing ground tests and the check of the aircraft’s fueling system and the air tightness of its fuel tanks has been completed.
"Apart from the fuel system, the ground tests will also involve engine runs, comprehensive trials of the landing gear-retraction and extension and a check of all the aircraft’s systems for their electromagnetic compatibility," the press office of the transport aviation division at the United Aircraft Corporation said.
Russia’s improved aerial refueler modification is derived from the latest Il-76MD-90A military transport plane, featuring a completely new aircraft navigation system and also an all-glass cockpit, which helps reduce the crew workload and enhance flight safety.