First Il-76MD transport to fly in Feb 2012

Russia’s Aviastar aircraft factory will produce the first production Il-76MD transport aircraft this year and test fly it in February 2012, a management source in the plant said at the international MAKS airshow on Tuesday.

The first two Il-76MDs will be delivered by 2013, “probably for the Russian Emergencies Minstry or Defense Ministry,” the manager said.

The Russian Defense Ministry wants to buy up to 100 of the aircraft over ten years to replace existing Il-76s.

The company foresees a total market of up to 150 aircraft.

Ulyanovsk-based Aviastar expects to build up to ten of the aircraft per year and is in talks with export customers including India and China as well as commercial customers.

Aviastar declined to discuss the details of negotiations with China, referring all enquiries to United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), the holding that includes most of Russia’s aircraft industry.

China canceled a contract agreed earlier with Russia for delivery of around 38 Il-76 transport and Il-78 tanker aircraft, after TAPO, the Uzbekistan-based Il-76 airframe producer said it could no longer deliver the airframes as production had slowed.

UAC then had to move production to Aerostar in order to complete the Il-76MD and Il-476 modification programs for the Russian Air Force.

The Il-76MD and Il-476 are improved variants of the Il-76 with modern PS-90 turbofan engines which are more economical and less noisy than the D-30 engines. The new aircraft also has modern flight deck systems and avionics, allowing a reduced number of flight crew.

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