Il-76MF for Jordan makes first flight

The first production Ilyushin Il-76MF military transport made its maiden flight on September 30. According to Irkut Corporation, which is responsible for the production of commercial and transport aircraft within Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), the 38-minute flight was performed from the airfield of the Chkalov TAPO facility in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. This aircraft is the first of two ordered by Jordan back in 2005.
The Il-76MF, which has received the new designation Il-76EI, is a stretched version of the four-engine Il-76MD transport aircraft in service with the Russian Air Force. Its prototype first flew in 1995. Compared to the baseline model, the Il-76MF has two additional 3.3-meter fuselage plugs installed fore and aft of the wing. This increases the volume of the cargo compartment from the original 326 cu.m. to 400 cu.m. The MF version also received more powerful PS-90A-76 turbofan engines with a thrust of 16 tons each, a new auxiliary power unit, and can carry 60 tons of payload versus 48 tons for the Il-76MD, at higher speed and to a longer distance. Another improvement is the new Kupol 3 flight control and navigation system selected by the Russian Air Force as the standard model for its transport aviation. It includes two multifunction displays that replace analog indicators, and is also sat nav-enabled, effectively reducing the aircrew from seven to five men. At present Jordan remains the only customer for this modification, as the Russian Air Force is more interested to get a shorter but more profoundly modernized Il-476 variant. Its production will be launched in Russia, while Uzbekistan will continue to manufacture older versions using its production reserves. According to UAC, the first two Il-476 prototypes are expected to be assembled in Ulyanovsk, Russia, in 2011.

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