A new, upgraded and automated final assembly line at the CJSC Aviastar-SP JSC plant in the Russian city of Ulyanovsk has completed its first Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A heavy-lift strategic transport aircraft.
The Il-76MD-90A was towed out of the new production facility on May 19. It will now undergo a ground test campaign before beginning its flight test programme. While the full details of the improved facility were not disclosed, the managing director of Aviastar-SP JSC, Sergey Sheremetov, said: “The introduction of a new technological process in the future will contribute to an increase in the volume of serial production of more than ten aircraft per year.”
The new final assembly line comprises ten work stations for docking the fuselage, wing and tail sections, along with stations for the installation of aircraft powerplants and other systems. It is equipped with a laser positioning system to ensure that all of the aircraft’s elements are joined with a high degree of accuracy. The new facility will reduce the labour required for the production process by 38%.
The Russian Aerospace Forces ultimately intends to acquire up to 100 examples of the Il-76MD-90A and ordered an initial batch of 39 aircraft under a contract signed in October 2012. At least six are believed to be operational, although the precise number of Il-76MD-90As in Russian service remains unconfirmed.