Russian Air Force to get 48 Ilyushin transport planes

Moscow, Feb 5 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The Russian Air Force's Military Transport Aviation (MTA) will receive 48 Ilyushin Il-476 heavy transport planes by 2020, a military official said Tuesday.

The number of planes was earlier stated as 39, MTA commander Col. Gen. Vladimir Benediktov said.

The Russian defence ministry said in October 2012 it had signed a contract worth about 140 billion rubles ($4 billion) with the country's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) for the delivery of 39 Il-476 planes by 2020.

"The MTA will receive its first series-produced (Il-476) planes by 2014, and a total of 48 by 2020," Benediktov said.

The Il-476 -- also known as the Il-76-MD-90A -- is a significantly modernised variant of the Il-76 Candid transport plane, featuring a fully-digital flight control system, new avionics and PS-90A-76 engines with improved fuel efficiency systems.

A prototype of the plane carried out a maiden flight from the Aviastar plant in Ulyanovsk in September and will undergo a comprehensive test programme for another year.

The Russian military has not received significant numbers of new large transport planes in the past 20 years.

--IANS/RIA Novosti



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