Russia Developing 'Transformer' Flying Tanker
Russia’s upcoming Il-96-400TZ flying tanker will also be able to haul cargoes and passengers, Ilyushin’s Deputy Chief Designer Olga Kruglyakova said in an interview with United Aircraft Corporation’s journal Horizon.
A long range jet liner Il-96-400 designed by the Sergey Ilyushin experimental design office. © Sputnik/ Alexander Polyakov Russian Military Gets Customized Il-96-400 'Doomsday Plane' “President Putin ordered us to continue our work on an aerial refueling tanker based on the Ilyushin Il-96 jumbo,” Kruglyakova said.
She added that the military also wants the plane to be able to move around cargo and passengers. In 2015 the Voronezh-based aircraft manufacturer VASO was ordered to build two such flying tankers for the Russian Aerospace Forces. The first such plane has already undergone preliminary trials.
“The initial test flights we had with fighter planes showed that the Il-96-400TZ is fully compatible with small aircraft. Just how compatible it is with bigger ones we’ll see during state trials,” Ilyushin’s Chief Designer Nikolai Talikov said.
The second test plane will be built in 2018. Both planes will be able to transport up to 65 tons of fuel across a range of 3,500 kilometers.
The Il-96-400TZ will be equipped with the Zvezda UPAZ-1 aerial refueling system, which has been previously proven on the Il-78 tanker flown by the Russian Air Force.
If the flying tankers built in Voronezh pass the tests, the plant will be given orders for an additional 30 such planes.
The Il-96 is also used as a platform for airborne command centers for the Federal Security Service and the Defense Ministry.
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