Ilyushin Il 78M 90A refueling aircraft to enter production in 2021
Next year Aviastar-SP UAC will begin the production of ten Ilyushin Il-78M-90A refueling aircraft under the contract with the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. It will allow to refuel simultaneously two aircraft.
The Ilyushin Il-78M-90A is an upgraded variant of the Ilyushin Il-78 (NATO reporting name: Midas) is a Soviet four-engined aerial refueling tanker based on the Il-76 (NATO reporting name: Candid) strategic airlifter. It is based on the Il-76MD-90A. The Il-78 The Il-78 has a total transferable fuel load of 85,720 kg (188,980 lb), which includes 28,000 kg (62,000 lb) from a pair of 18,230-litre (4,010 imp gal; 4,820 US gal) tanks in the freight hold. In comparison, the Il-76 has a capacity of only 10,000 kg (22,000 lb). The Il-78 transfers fuel solely through deployment of the probe-and-drogue refueling method.
The first Il-78M-90A prototype was rolled out on 29 November 2017, and performed its maiden flight on 25 January 2018. On December 12, 2020, an order for 10 Il-78M-90A was signed, with the serial production starting in 2021.The Il-78M-90A becomes the first refuelling aircraft produced in Russia in the post-Soviet era. In a longer run, it will become the main refuelling aircraft adapted for in-flight refuelling of long-range, front-line, and special-purpose aircraft. The refuelling aircraft can easily be converted into a military and transport or a fire-fighting aircraft.