Russia plans to revive its transport aviation production capabilities with local assembly of Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft. In the Soviet era these airplanes used to be assembled at the TAPO plant in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The Uzbek government a few years ago refused to hand TAPO under the control of Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC); the facility is to be closed on January 1, 2012.
This year the Tashkent plant has rolled out one stretched Il-76MF, the second aircraft of this version ordered by Jordan. The first one has already been delivered to Jordan International Air Cargo. The last two airframes to be assembled at TAPO will be Il-76TD-90VDs for Russia’s Volga-Dnepr cargo operator.
UAC plans to set up a Russian assembly line for the new Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A military transport, also known as Il-476 or Item 476. This aircraft will be in fact a heavily modernized version of the Il-76MD military transport that has been in service with the Russian Air Force for more than 20 years. According to Vladimir Belyakov, deputy head of the Ilyushin design bureau, the modernization will include a reinforced wing and new engines, an upgraded landing gear and a new avionics suite. With this upgrade the designers expect to increase the aircraft’s payload from the current 50 t to 60 t, extend its flight range by 27%, and reduce fuel consumption by 18%.