The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has received the first serial-production Ilyushin Il-76MD-M upgraded transport aircraft, United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) announced on 13 March.
The aircraft – the first of 30 Il-76 ‘Candid’ airlifters that are being upgraded to the Il-76MD-M (sometimes designated Il-76MDM) standard – was handed over to the MoD ahead of final tests before being delivered to the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS).
As previously noted by Jane’s , the Il-76MD-M modification comprises refurbishing the Il-76’s existing engines and equipping it with many of the new systems installed on the newbuild Il-76MD-90A that the VKS is now receiving. The Il-76MD-90A features carried across to the Il-76MD-M include a Global Air Traffic Management (GATM)-compliant digital ‘glass’ cockpit, as well as structural improvements that feature a modified wing and reinforced landing gear. In addition, an electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor has been installed to enable the crew to better view landing/drop zones in all weathers and at night.
While the Il-76MDM upgrade retains the old D-30KP engines (compared with the PS-90A engines equipping the new Il-76MD-90A/Il-476), they are being refurbished to afford them an additional 15 years of service life in line with the rest of the airframe.
“The purpose of modernisation is to extend the life of combat aircraft, provide modern means of navigation and communications, and replace equipment that is no longer being manufactured,” Ilyushin noted. The cost of modernising the Il-76MD to Il-76MD-M is only a third of that of a newbuild Il-76MD-90A.
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