The Russian heavy-lift Il-76MD-90A military transport plane, the all-new version of the popular IL-76, has completed final assembly and is scheduled to commence ground and flight tests soon.
The installation of new PS-90A-76 engines, a modified wing and a reinforced landing gear significantly expand the operational capabilities of the aircraft. The cargo carrying capacity has increased from 48 ton for the IL-76 to 60 ton for Il-76MD-90A.
The increased carrying capacity gives it a significant edge over competing Western aircraft such as the C-130H and the Airbus A-400M. The only western aircraft with a higher carrying capacity is the C-17 whose production has ended.
The new aircraft has CCTVs inside and outside with live feed available inside the cockpit so that the pilot is aware of the surroundings and loading/unloading operations.
The Il-76MD-90A aircraft was built at the Ulyanovsk aircraft building enterprise JSC Aviastar-SP (as part of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). The new aircraft was transferred from the final assembly workshop to the company's flight test station (LIS) for ground and flight tests.
As part of the ground test stage, LIS specialists will check the functioning of the fuel system, hydraulic system, launch the auxiliary power unit, start the engines and operation of the aircraft systems and other necessary tasks, A UAC release said today.
At the flight test station, the aircraft is to be flight tested, painted and put into operation.
The Il-76MD-90A is equipped with the latest systems for flight and navigation, fly-by-wire controls and communications besides a "glass" cockpit to significantly increase flight safety, accuracy of air navigation and landing.
The powerful and economical PS-90A-76 engines have a thrust of up to 14.5 tons compared to the "standard" D-30KP2 engines with a thrust of up to 12 tons.
The Il-76MD-90A can carry 126 paratroopers with parachutes, 145 personnel in a single-deck version and 225 in a double-deck version. the aircraft is capable of transporting and landing modern infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers, self-propelled guns and other equipment of the airborne troops.
Not only has the cargo capacity increased, the lifting capacity of the electric hoist has gone up to reduce time on ground. The number of ground staff required for load/unload has reduced due the new changes.
Despite the increased cargo capacity, the ability of the Il-76MD-90 to operate from unpaved runways has gone up due to an all-new chassis, re-enforced landing gear and new KT-199M wheels of increased energy intensity allow.
The service life of the Il-76MD-90A is estimated to be 30 years without modernization.