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New Il-76MD-90A named after Victor Livanov

_The new production-standard Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A airlifter made by Aviastar-SP plant was named after Victor Livanov in a ceremony in Ulyanovsk on 15 August 2015. The aircraft with c/n 0105 conducted its maiden flight in Ulyanovsk on 14 August 2015. Victor Livanov (1943-2014) had been Ilyushin's Director and Director General from 1988 to 2014 and Designer General since 2006. It is at his initiative that the heavily upgraded Il-76MD-90A was developed and productionised at Aviastar-SP.

Ilyushin Director General Sergei Velmozhkin said at the ceremony that the naming of the aircraft after Victor Livanov was a deserved appraisal of the job done by him. "When the programme was launched and we resumed the Il-76's production, nobody believed it was feasible. Owing to our joint efforts, owing to the work of Aviastar-SP personnel, however, we did it. It is especially nice that the plane has been named after our leader, Victor Livanov. Those, who worked on the aircraft, know how much efforts, time and heart he had in the programme. Therefore, the naming of the airlifter after him is a deserved appraisal of the efforts made by Victor Livanov."

Aviastar-SP Director General Sergei Dementyev underscored the part played by Victor Livanov in productionising the Il-76MD-90A. "Victor Livanov was an outstanding, prominent person, who has made an invaluable contribution to the Russian aircraft industry and national defence. Owing to him to a large extent, the Ulyanovsk-based plant, which has productionised the Il-76MD-90A, has been reborn for the second time."

Russian Air Force Transport Aviation Commander Lt.-Gen. Vladimir Benediktov, who attended the event, said that once the Il-76MD-90A Victor Livanov completed the test programme, it would be ferried to the Military Transport Aviation Combat Training and Conversion Centre in Ivanovo, becoming the first aircraft of the type in the RusAF's Military Transport Aviation. "The centre's flying and ground crews as well as faculty have converted to the advanced type and are ready to start converting combat unit crews of the Russian Military Transport Aviation," Lt.-Gen. Benediktov said.

As is known, the first two production Il-76MD-90As (c/n 0103 and 0104) built by Aviastar-SP last year were delivered to Beriev company in November 2014 and April 2015. There, they will serve the basis for advanced special aircraft. The first flying prototype (c/n 0102), which made its first flight in Ulyanovsk in September 2012 and passed the first stage of its official trials in 2013, is being improved by the manufacturer equipping it with advanced communications gear, a defence aids suite and other equipment in line with the customer-released new specifications requirement. According to Sergei Dementyev, once the improvements have been introduced, the aircraft is to launch the second stage of its official tests before year-end. If it passes the tests, the Il-76MD-90A will enter service with the Russian Military Transport Aviation.

A next production-standard Il-76MD-90A (c/n 0108) was sitting in the final assembly shop of Aviastar-SP by this autumn. In the near future, it is to begin its flight tests, after which it will have been delivered before year-end too and given to the Ivanovo-based Military Transport Aviation Combat Training and Conversion Centre.

The next in the line is c/n 0109 that had its key airframe components joined in August 2015. At the same time, the plant is manufacturing and assembling the components of the first flying prototype of the advanced Il-78M-90A tanker plane. According to Aviastar-SP Director General Sergei Dementyev, the aircraft is slated for roll-out from the final assembly hall by next summer, and it may fly for the first time in August 2016. The company is making parts and assemblies for more production-standard Il-76MD-90As under the October 2012 Russian Defence Ministry order for 39 aircraft and has prepared for the introduction of an up-to-date flow line intended to ramp up the Il-76MD-90A output to 18 units per annum by the end of the decade. According to Sergei Dementyev, the plant may begin to export the Il-76MD-90A as soon as 2017, with a number of countries having been keen on the aircraft.

Published in Take-off magazine, November 2015.

(Photo: Aviastar-SP)

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