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IL-78M-90A

The IL-78M-90A will be the first aircraft-tanker produced in Russia, before that all IL-78s were assembled at TAPOiCh factory i in Uzbekistan. The machine will allow the simultaneous refueling of two aircraft of frontline aviation. From the tail assembly, refueling of long-range and special aviation aircraft is possible. When using the IL-78M-90A on the ground, it is planned to simultaneously fill four aircraft. The company Aviastar-SP (part of the transport aviation division of PJSC UAC) specializes in the production of transport aircraft IL-76MD-90A, passenger aircraft of the Tu-204 family, and maintenance of AN-124 Ruslan transport aircraft. The company is installing interiors and working out the systems of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 family, it also participates in the production of a new medium-haul aircraft MS-21 and IL-112.

The new aircraft differs from its predecessor with a modified wing, new engines and control system, and also has a large carrying capacity and the volume of fuel transported on board. The new aircraft will be the main aerial tanker designed for refueling aircraft of long-range, front-line and special aviation. The Il-78M-90A is a modification of the Il-78MD-90A. The Il-78M-90A tanker plane is heavily commonised with the Il-76MD-90A, particularly in terms of the wing design. However, its takeoff weight grew up from 210 tons to 220 tons, which enables it to haul more fuel and refuel more aircraft in flight compared with the Il-78 and Il-78M air tankers used to be built in Tashkent.

In addition, while the Il-78M was a pure tanker aircraft, the advanced Il-78M-90A is being developed as a convertible variant capable of operating as an ordinary transport once it has been stripped of its fuselage fuel cells, if need be, for it will retain the cargo ramp. At the customers request it can preserve features of a military transport aircraft: a ramp, parachute equipment, fire-extinguishing equipment (if necessary). But along with this it is possible to install fuelling equipment in the aircraft additional fuel tanks inside the cargo compartment and unified suspension fuelling units.

The Il-78M-90A aircraft will be the main tanker, equipped for aerial fuelling of long-range, front-line and special-purpose aviation. The aircraft will allow simultaneous fuelling of two front-line planes (Su-27, MiG-29) with wing-mounted fuelling units. The tail unit allows refueling of long-range and special-purpose aircraft. Also when used on the ground the Il-78M-90A will allow simultaneous refueling of four aircraft.

The aircraft is fitted with four new generation engines PS-90A-76 with increased bypass ratio and takeoff power rating (there are two takeoff modes available: maximum increased power with 16,000 kg of thrust and maximum power with 14,500 kg of thrust). Specific fuel consumption of PS-90A-76 engine is lower by 12-14% that fuel consumption of D-30KP engine.

A contract for four PS-90A-76 engines supply for prospective IL-78M-90A refuelling aircraft was signed 27 August 2013 by Perm Engine Company and UAK-Transport Aircraft on the first day of International Aviation and Space Salon in chalet of United Engine Corporation. Certificates for delivery of four PS-90A-76 engines for IL-76MD-90A were also handed in within the Contract with the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation as well as Acceptance Certificates for these engines were signed.

Sergey Velmozhkin, CEO UAC-Transport Aircraft, pointed to the importance of the documents signed and expressed his confidence that the companies started a serious business, and now the both parties should just fulfil their obligations.

The main thing is to manage it and these engines not to get the raw end of deal, - he wished. "We prepared within a rather short time for signing the contract for engines for prospective IL-78M-90A refuelling aircraft. And as for the terms of these engines supply I can say with certainty that it is fairly possible in the third quarter of 2014. This year we dispatch the first four engines within the concluded contract for 156 engines," Sergey Popov, Managing Director Perm Motor Company, commented at the signing.

The signing of the contract was also attended by Aviastar-SP representatives. In particular, Sergey Dementiev, CEO, said that the contract for the new engines means additional volume of aircraft manufacturing for the Aviastar plant, and it is of course good news.

The first production-standard Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A (c/n 01-03) airlifter was rolled out of the final assembly shop of the Aviastar-SP close corporation in Ulyanovsk on 17 June 2014. It was brought to the Spektr-Avia company in Ulyanovsk for painting, after which it will start its ground and then flight trials. Aviastar Director General Sergei Dementyev said: "Having pooled their efforts, the United Aircraft Corporation, UAC - Transport Aircraft JSC and the developer, Ilyushin, have completed the key stage of the production of the first production-standard Il-76MD-90A under the deal clinched with the Russian Defence Ministry. The aircraft shall be delivered as soon as this year".

On 13 February 2015 CJSC Aviastar-SP in Ulyanovsk started manufacturing the first development model of the advanced tanker aircraft Il-78M-90A, designed by OJSC Il. At present the assembly of fuselage, wing and center wing units is in progress. The works are performed under the contract with the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation for R&D of an advanced tanker aircraft.

The delivery of the new tanker aircraft Il-78M-90A to the Russian Air Force will begin in 2018. "The delivery of the Il-78M-90A to the Russian Air Forces is expected to begin in 2018," the source in Russian Defense Ministry said. The Il-78M-90A will be the first air tanker to be fully produced in Russia. Earlier the Il-78 aircraft had been assembled by the Tashkent Chkalov Industrial Group in Uzbekistan. In February 2015, United Aircraft Corporation began construction of an engineering prototype of the Il-78M-90A aircraft.

According to the 2013-25 Aircraft Industry Development Federal Program, Aviastar-SP was to make a total of 90 aircraft of the type prior to 2020, including 31 Il-78M-90A air tankers and 18 aircraft designed for subsequent conversion to various dedicated applications by Beriev company, with about 45 more to be built in the subsequent five years.

The newest Russian aircraft fueler Il-78M-90A made its first flight on January 25, 2018, according to the press service of the company Aviation Complex named after S.V. Ilyushin. The pilot-pilot of Ilyushin piloted the plane Hero of the Russian Federation, Honored Test Pilot of the Russian Federation Nikolai Dmitrievich Kuimov. Specialists of Aviastar-SP aircraft plant successfully completed ground frequency tests of the newest Russian Il-78M-90A tanker. The tests were carried out by specialists of the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute named after Professor N.E. Zhukovsky, commissioned by the PJSC "Aviation Complex named after S. Ilyushin," the press service of the enterprise said on 19 April 2018. The plane was checked by vibration. For this purpose, 260 sensors were installed on the Il-78M-90A, and fluctuations were caused from 50 points of the glider. The company specified that the test results will be the basis for analyzing possible deviations from the operating standards during the whole life of the aircraft. They will also maximize the aerodynamic characteristics of the new machine and improve flight safety.

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