State Flight Tests of the IL-76MD-M Aircraft Began
(Source: Russian Ministry of Defence; issued June 14, 2017)
The first user test flight of the upgraded Il-76MD-M lasted over six hours, according to the Russian MoD. The aircraft was operated by pilots of the Chkalov State Flight Test Centre and the Ilyushin Aviation Complex. (RUS MoD photo)
The state joint tests of the IL-76MD-M aircraft are being conducted by the Russian Defence Ministry and the Aviation Complex named after S.V. Ilyushin in the city of Zhukovsky, near Moscow.

The first flight lasted more than six hours. The aircraft was operated by a joint crew of test pilots of the V.P. Chkalov State Flight Test Centre of the Russian Defence Ministry n and the S.V. Ilyushin Aviation Complex.

Until the end of 2017 it is planned to issue a preliminary conclusion for outputting the installation lot of IL-76MD-M aircraft with assignment of the letter ‘O1’.

IL-76MD-M is a project to modernise the Il-76MD-type aircraft with updating the flight-navigation complex, lighting, landing-and-transport and living equipment, means of defence and signal communications. Also, the aircraft will get elements of the "glass cabin". The assigned service life of the aircraft is extended up to 40 years.

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Il-76MD-M Prototype Makes Test Flight
(Source: Forecast International; issued June 15, 2017)
MOSCOW --- The first prototype of the Il-76MD-M modernized military transport aircraft has made its first flight as part of state tests.

Manufacturer Ilyushin announced that the flight took place near Moscow and lasted over six hours. This flight, part of the ongoing state tests, is over a year after the aircraft completed its maiden flight as part of manufacturer testing.

Director General Alexey Rogozin, who was appointed last month, said, "The beginning stage of state joint tests - a very important event for us. Modernization of aircraft Il-76MD system, can extend their service and improve combat effectiveness, to prepare for a massive shift to the new Il-76MD-90A." Russian officials have previously suggested the Il-76MD-M is an 'intermediate' between the Il-76MD and the modernized Il-76MD-90A, which is also currently under development.

A first contract to upgrade Il-76MDs into the Il-76MD-M standard has already been signed. Russia anticipates receiving the first two Il-76MD-M transports next year.

Ilyusin has previously noted some of the details of the Il-76MD-M modernization. The firm noted, "Modernization included flight navigation, radio communication, light, utility and defensive equipment. Outdated (out of production) equipment was replaced with modern items. Assigned service time of the aircraft was extended from 30 to 40 years."

As part of development of the Il-76MD-90A, meanwhile, Russia anticipates receiving three of the aircraft in 2017, as part of ongoing testing. Testing is expected to be finished next year, with serial production thereafter. Moscow initially expected to order nearly 40 Il-76MD-90As as part of a first batch, but cost increases may cause the order to be reduced.

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