Russia's Ilyushin has started to upgrade a first Russian Air Force (VVS) Ilyushin Il-76MD 'Candid' military transport aircraft to Il-76MDM standard, company officials have told IHS Jane's . The main features of the upgrade include refurbished engines and upgraded avionics.
The modernisation is being conducted at the VVS's Military Transport Aviation (MTA) maintenance facility based at the Ilyushin division in Zhukovsky city near Moscow.
A senior Ilyushin official told IHS Jane's that the upgrade of the first aircraft will be finished in 18 months. Subsequent aircraft will take less time to complete the process, however. When the modernisation is finished the initial Il-76MDM will undergo state trials. The upgrade process for subsequent aircraft will begin when the trials programme is completed.
IHS Jane's was previously told by a VVS senior official that the modernisation of 41 MTA Il-76MDs is planned by 2020. While the Il-76MDM upgrade retains the old D-30KP engine (compared with the PS-90A engine equipping the new Il-76MD-90A/Il-476), the modernisation effort should match the aircraft's onboard electronics with those of the newbuild Il-76MD-90A. This and other efforts mean the cost of modernising the Il-76MD to Il-76MDM is only a third of that of a newbuild Il-76MD-90A.
The existing D-30KP engines are to be enhanced to increase their service life. The overall aircraft's service life will be extended by 15 years.
The upgrade works are planned to be conducted in an aviation repair factory or in the MTA's aircraft maintenance facility. As a result, the Ulyanovsk-based Aviastar-SP plant, which is building the Il-76MD-90A, is not involved in the Il-76MD to Il-76MDM modernisation programme.
Russia launches Il-76MDM upgrade programme - IHS Jane's 360