Russia’s modernized Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A aircraft, also known as the Il-476, will conduct its maiden flight by the end of June, Ulyanovsk-based Aviastar aircraft maker said on Friday.
The Il-476 is an extensively modified variant of the Il-76 freighter, with new engines, reinforced wing, modernized cockpit, and heavier payload. The aircraft will be primarily built for the Russian Armed Forces and Emergencies Ministry.
“Project 476 is our future,” Aviastar General Director Sergei Dementyev said.
Aviastar, which also manufactures super-heavy Antonov An-124 transport planes, expects to build up to ten of the Il-476 aircraft per year and is in talks with export customers including India and China as well as commercial customers.
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.
Russia then had to move production to Aviastar in order to complete the Il-476 modification programs for the Russian Air Force.
The Russian Defense Ministry wants to buy up to 100 of the aircraft over ten years to replace existing Il-76s.