A heavily modernized version of the iconic Il-78 aerial fuel tanker plane has performed its maiden flight. The plane boasts new engines and wings, as well as an increased flight range and fuel capacity.
.

The new plane, named Il-78M-90A, successfully took to the skies for the very first time on January 25. The plane was designed by the Ilyushin Aviation Complex and manufactured by Aviastar-SP in the city of Ulyanovsk.

.

It has become the very first aerial tanker produced in Russia since the demise of the Soviet Union, as the plant which used to manufacture earlier models of Il-78 remained in Uzbekistan. While the new Il-78M-90A bears a strong resemblance to its predecessors, the plane basically retains only its old airframe, featuring entirely new equipment. The machine is based on the modern Il-76MD-90A transport planes, also manufactured by the Ulyanovsk plant.

The new plane is fitted with new wings and modern PS-90A-76 engines, which are more powerful and some 14 percent more fuel-efficient than those of the Soviet-era models. The new machine therefore boasts a larger flight range and can carry more juice to refuel other planes. The Il-78M-90A has also retained an important perk from the original Il-78, as it can easily be converted into a general-purpose transport plane in the field. The aircraft can also be fitted with fire-extinguishing equipment.

READ MORE: First Russian 5th generation Su-57 fighter jets to be put in service ‘very soon’

.

The tanker can simultaneously refuel two smaller jets, such as Su-30s or MiG-35s, as well as one larger, long-range plane while airborne. When it is on the ground, the Il-78M-90A can refuel up to four other machines.

ext-34

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s