Il-78M-90A made at the Aviastar-SP plant performed its first flight in the Ulyanovsk region

On 25 January, the flight model of the promising refueling aircraft Il-78M-90A took into the air from the Ulyanovsk-East airfield. The machine was piloted by Nikolay Kuimov, the chief pilot of Ilyushin, the Hero of the Russian Federation, and the honored test pilot of the Russian Federation.



“I would like to sincerely thank the chief designer and people who worked on the project of this excellent airplane, as well as those who built it here, on Aviastar. We once again proved not only to ourselves but also to the whole world that Russia was, is and will always be an aviation superpower. For us, of course, this means new orders, new jobs, and the good future for Aviastar. I once again want to sincerely thank everyone for this first flight”, – noted Sergey Morozov, the Governor of the Ulyanovsk region.

According to the crew, the flight was successful, all systems worked in a normal mode. Il-78M-90A is the first Russian refueling aircraft. The previous modifications of these air vehicles were assembled in Uzbekistan. Ilyushin Aviation Complex is the head designer of the aircraft and the Aviastar-SP plant acted as the manufacturer (the enterprises are a part of the Transport Aviation Division of PAO "United Aircraft Corporation").

“Sergey Vladimirovich Ilyushin always said that the glory to a designer is famous for the planes in the sky. Today is the day when we can see the result of our work in the form of aircrafts, beautiful planes, and new products. This motivates us to work even more actively. This year we have to make at least three aircraft Il-76MD-90A. Today we understand that we can create new vehicles. I am very grateful to all designers and technologists, to all those people who were directly involved in construction of the plane at this plant. The Supreme Commander, the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has already received the news regarding the flight of Il-78M-90A in Ulyanovsk”, – noted Alexey Rogozin, the Director General of PAO "Il".

Andrey Yurasov, the chief designer of the Joint Directorate of Il-76 programmes of PAO "Il", noted that this plane has a good future. “We are sure that this aircraft will have a long life, and the local government will launch serial production at the Aviastar-SP plant in short terms. As a result, our army will receive a fine air vehicle that will help to solve all the tasks set by the Supreme Commander. We expect that in 2020-2021 these airplanes will have already become a part of the Russian Aerospace Forces”, – he said.At the initiative of the head of the region, the Ulyanovsk region has property tax benefits for Aviastar. For the period from 2016 to 2021, this tax rate for the enterprise is 0.95%. In particular, the released funds, which the plant receives as a result of this property tax privilege, will be distributed for financing of four main spheres. These include modernization and re-equipment of production, joint financing of implementation of the Aviastar - New Generation housing programme, development of traditional sports in the territory of the Ulyanovsk region, support of the aviation cluster's activities and development of the aviation industry in the region.

As a reference:

The new advanced modification of the refueling aircraft Il-78M-90A was created based on the latest military non-combat aircraft Il-76MD-90A. Design and drafting of engineering documentation, and production of the air vehicle were carried with the use of modern digital technologies.

The refueling aircraft has a modern flight and navigation complex, a robot-control system, a communication complex, and a glass cockpit that meet all the modern requirements to avionics of air vehicles. All these features considerably increase flight operating safety and accuracy of navigation.

The airplane is equipped with four engines of the new generation PS-90A-76 with increased bypass ratio and takeoff power rating. Their specific fuel consumption is by 12−14% lower than the one of the D-30KP engine, which was installed on the previous modifications of refueling aircrafts. As a result, Il-78M-90A has increased range and can take bigger amount of fuel for airplanes.

Upon customer request, the latest refueling plane Il-78M-90A can still be used as a military non-combat aircraft. If required, fire-extinguishing equipment can be installed. Refitting does not require a lot of work and can be performed at the airfield.

In the long term, Il-78M-90A will become the main refueling aircraft suitable for mid-air refueling of air vehicles of long-range, front-line and combat support aviation units. The plane can perform simultaneous refueling of two airplanes of front aircraft (SU-27 and MiG-29 types). Refueling of long-range and combat support vehicles can be performed from the tail section of the aircraft. When using Il-78M-90A on ground, it is possible to carry out simultaneous refueling to four air vehicles.

The final assembly of refueling aircrafts will take place at the Ulyanovsk plant "Aviastar-SP", which is currently working on installation of a production line for final assembly of heavy military transport planes Il-76MD-90A and fuel servicing vehicles Il-78MI-90A.

The production line consists of several stations providing complete assembly of aircrafts. One of the most important stations is the one for connection of fuselage section and assembly of a glider. It also includes stands of jiggles automated assembly made in Russia.

Automation of processes will allow to attach fuselage and assemble gliders within several hours instead of days. The majority of procedure is robot-based and assembly will not depend on workers as much as before. Laser-optical measurement systems will control accuracy of work.

The new production line will allow to reduce labor intensity, to ensure quality control, to reduce the need for qualified technical staff.