Russia orders first ten Il-78M-90A tankers

The United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) announced on December 18 that it has been contracted to produce and deliver the first ten Ilyushin Il-78M-90A tanker aircraft for the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD).

A part of the Rostec State Corporation, the UAC will produce the Il-78M-90A tankers at its Aviastar-SP aircraft manufacturing facility, which is located in Ulyanovsk, central Russia. The contract was signed by Russian Deputy Defence Minister Alexei Krivoruchko and the first deputy general director of the UAC, Sergei Yarkovoy, during a working visit to the Aviastar-SP plant.

Ilyushin Il-78M-90A [UAC]
An Ilyushin Il-78M-90A tanker aircraft in flight. On December 18, 2020, the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) announced that it has been contracted  to produce and deliver the first ten aircraft to the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD). UAC

Derived from the Il-76MD-90A, the Il-78M-90A is powered by four new-generation Aviadvigatel PS-90A-76 turbofan engines and features new flight and navigation systems. The platform is also outfitted with a glass cockpit, which has been included to improve flight safety and reduce the workload of aircrews.

In a press release, the UAC said: “The Il-78M-90A will allow for the simultaneous refuelling of two frontline aircraft and from the tail unit, it is possible to refuel long-range and special aircraft. When using the Il-78M-90A on the ground, it is possible to simultaneously refuel four aircraft. The Il-78M-90A tanker can be converted and, if necessary, can be used as a cargo plane.”

AirForces Intelligence data states that the first Il-78M-90A prototype completed its maiden flight on January 19, 2018, before it was handed over to the Russian Aerospace Forces for trials in July of that year.