The Russian Armed Forces will start receiving Il-476 heavy transport planes in 2014, the Defense Ministry said.
The Il-476 is a significantly modernized version of Russia’s Il-76 Candid transport plane, featuring a fully-digital flight control system, new avionics and PS-90A-76 engines with improved fuel efficiency systems.
The ministry on Thursday signed a contract worth about 140 billion rubles ($4 billion) with Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) for the delivery of 39 Il-476 planes by 2020.
The Il-476 will be built at the Urals-based Aviastar-SP aircraft-manufacturing plant.
A prototype of the plane carried out a maiden flight in September and will undergo a comprehensive testing program for another year.
The Russian military has not received new transport planes for the past 20 years.
According to various sources, there are up to 300 transport aircraft in service with the Russian Air Force, including An-12 Cub, An-72 Coaler, An-22 Cock, An-124 Condor and Il-76 Candid planes. Most of the aircraft entered service in the 1960s and 1970s and are considered outdated by modern safety and noise pollution standards.