The Russian Air Force’s advanced prototype tanker IL-78М-90А has conducted its maiden flight under the Russian Federation test pilot Nikolai Dmitrievich Kuimov.
Built in Russia, the aircraft is the first tanker in the post-Soviet period that has been designed by Ilyushin Aviation Complex and manufactured at aircraft factory Aviastar-SP.
Earlier, the production of the IL-78 tanker was carried out in Uzbekistan.
The new variant is based on the military and transport aircraft IL-76MD-90A.
According to Ilyushin, design and development of engineering documentation and production of the aircraft were carried out on the basis of the modern digital technologies.
The IL-78М-90А is equipped with four advanced PS-90А-76 engines with high bypass ratio engine and increased take-off rating.
The fuel consumption level of the latest engines is 12%-14%, which is lower than that of the D-30KP engines installed on the previous tanker modifications.
This enables IL-78М-90А to have increased flight distance and fuel capacity.
The Il-78М-90А aircraft is expected to become the main tanker, adapted for aerial refuelling of long-range, front line, and special aviation aircraft.
The system is capable of simultaneously refuelling two front-line aviation aircraft such as Su-27/30/34/35 and MiG-29/35.
When positioned on the ground, the new tanker will be able to fill up to four aircraft at the same time.
The final assembly of the serial tanker will be carried out at Aviastar-SP’s Ulianovsk plant, where works on the setting of the production line of final assembly of the IL-76МD-90А heavy military and transport aircraft and the IL-78M-90A tankers are currently being performed.