They cancelled it- the cost is too high & the benefit gained isn't worth it, otherwise the Il-478 would've been not being pursued/cancelled. A twin engine variant would be more economical, but there's no suitable engine yet.
When they cancelled the Il-96 tanker it was because they were looking for uses for a few airframes they could finish... this was before PD-35 engines were considered and they were not considering the Il-96 as a tanker instead of the Il-478... all their upgrades of tactical aircraft and all their new aircraft have inflight refuelling probes, which is a pretty useless feature if the only tankers you operate are with strategic aviation.
Now that they are putting the Il-96 into low scale production and have plans for new engines that should give them quite impressive performance then it makes sense to revisit the idea of a tanker variant because as I said a large long range passenger jet with a large internal capacity for fuel makes a lot of sense for fueling strategic bombers on long range missions and also long range missions with medium and tactical range aircraft.
The Il-478 is a useful aircraft but the Il-96 cruises at a higher speed at a higher altitude and carries significantly more fuel that can be off loaded to another aircraft... which is not really critical for a tactical fighter but for a strategic cruise missile carrier these are all very useful things... especially when you can design the aircraft to perform cargo carrying roles when inflight refuelling is not needed.
They may get all that surrounding land back later, after Ms of Russian speakers get RF passports, like those in Donbass. There r no tunnels & none needed whatsoever between Central Russia & Baikonur which is also lot closer than Vostochny.
Be that as it may, it is currently and in the foreseeable future in a foreign country beyond Russian control and a single coloured revolution or simply a change of government and access might become an issue... which is fine... they have prepared for that eventuality and now they are getting a sea launch capacity too so it is hardly the end of the world.
The tunnels leading to the far east are part of the silk road from Europe to Asia and will make Russia quite a bit of money so it is worth upgrading the tunnels and the rails too.
If they get more transit fees from China & Korea, that would be easier to finance.
It would be more important to get them using the route rather than cranking up transit fees and making alternative options look more attractive. All of the fees should be used initially to upgrade the rails and tunnels to allow a faster and safer transit... and once you have done that then you can increase the fees a little because you have made it faster and safer.
Otherwise, it can wait- even with delays in transit, it's still faster by 2-3 weeks or more than by sea. Besides, widening the tunnel will close it for the duration, so a new 1 will need to be dug.
That wiki page mentioned diverting traffic via another route, but building a new tunnel and widening the existing tunnel all at the same time would be pretty stupid...
new tunnel to Vostochny will take 10 yrs - re train tunnel width ...
Would like to know where that estimate came from... I remember estimates that it would take 15 years to build the bridge to the Crimea because of currents and storms in the region and they have never done such a big project before blah blah blah...
so if you use your An-124s less and use these Il-96-500Ts for a lot of their work then you can make your An-124s last longer
They are not the same and are not used the same way... the Il-96 will carry pallets and will be loaded with forklifts with all sorts of outsized loads a bit like a cargo ship with loads lowered into a cargo bay... An-124 is more like a roll on roll off ferry and much more suited to carrying vehicles... including helicopters (with their rotors removed) and even ships or trains or all sorts of armoured vehicles as well as pallets of equipment or food or ammo or whatever.
Trying to make Il-96 into a wannabe C-5 Galaxy... it is a waste of time with only 40t load.
No, they are not trying to make it a C-5 or An-124 replacement... they are if anything trying to make a VM-T replacement with the internal carriage of rockets that are too wide to go into rail tunnels.
And those rockets are empty so they probably wouldn't weigh anything like 40 tons with their propellant and O2 tanks empty.
PD-35 is going to power the modernised An-124s with twice the payload. Why would it make any sense to wait that long to put it into an Il-96 with half the load?
Because they will be using them for different things.
That would only be an option if An-124 isn't an option. Are they giving up on Ruslan already?
The An-124 can't take that size an object... not because it is too heavy, but because it doesn't have the internal width to fit such an object.
They will keep using the An-124 but when they have new engines for it it will become a much more useful aircraft to be honest, but they will use a wider body variant of the Il-96 especially for the space industry that wants lots of funny sized rockets that are relatively light but an awkward size and shape.
An-124s may or may not be re-engined; if they r, they may carry only ~30t more, extrapolating from data above.
As mentioned in the data you posted the current model An-124 can carry a 150 ton payload already with four 23 ton thrust ukrainian engines... I would think the performance improvement of replacing those four engines with four engines generating 35 tons of thrust would be pretty significant... 92 tons thrust compared with 140 tons of thrust.
Bare in mind that the An-225 was rather wider and longer and had two extra engines and could carry 250 ton payloads on its back but it did it with 138 tons of thrust...
IMO, the Il-96-500T is the transitional plane bebefore the Slon & the Il-106 r supposed to appear.
I disagree... the Il-96-500T is a direct replacement for the M4 bomber in the VM-T transporter role to transfer outsized payloads for the space industry. It makes rather more sense to use the Il-96 instead of the Bear because with PD-35 engines the Il-96 could have a serious future as a modern and efficient and capable civilian aircraft, while the Bear would be a dead end use of an aircraft that was available (like the VM-T).
The Slon is a replacement for the An-124, and the Il-106 is a direct replacement for the An-22 and direct competitor to the C-17 and the sooner they can get it into production the more they will likely sell... but a lot of countries tied in to having to buy C-17s to garner US support will be so jealous of the Il-106 as being a much better aircraft than the C-17.
If they had made the Slon as a three aircraft platform with twin, quad, and six engine version with the twin engine model in the Il-106 weight range, the quad engine model in the An-124 replacement range and a six engine model for the absent An-225 aircraft range then the twin would make the Il-106 redundant, the quad engine model would replace the An-124 and the six engine model with the capacity to carry items on its back would make the Il-96 redundant... but the point is that the Il-96 would still make sense as an airliner with the PD-35 engines so they would end up making them anyway.
It's of dual use & will carry helos, boats, vehicles, heavy equipment, & other cargoes for the MOD/MChS, as schematics in the links show.
True, but in those other transport roles they would compete directly with Il-476, An-124, and soon Il-106 and so for plenty of transport roles it wont be the first choice... of course there are things it will be able to carry none of those other aircraft could carry either so it has value and would definitely be used by the space industry at the very least and a few other roles as well.
Fine, but the An-124s may not be re-engined in sufficient #s thanks to Kiev's legal obstructions. Also, An-124s r aging & will need replacements.
The problems with the An-124s is that its engines are Ukrainian... everything else they make in Russia so avionics and wings and other bits are not problem... it is the engines... which is of course the most high tech and complex part of any aircraft...
An-124 is far wider than an Il-96 and has a cavernous storage deck. If you needed a platform with more room, you would just expand the Ruslan. If you need to put it on top of something, you would put it on top of the Ruslan.
From what I understand the problem is height. The point is that an Il-96 even with PS-90 engines can carry the weight, but they don't want to use the Ruslans too much because they use Ukrainian engines at the moment... when they have PD-35s it would make sense to make a four engined An-124 with PD-35s with an H shaped tail like the An-225. The PD-35s would give it practically the engine power of the An-225... it might need a bigger wing for extra lift but it would not need extra engines unless they wanted to take some prestige away from the Orcs.
They could get the job done with four engines if they wanted but I guess a 6 engine model would give them quite a lot of extra power... 6 PD-35s would have 210 tons thrust compared with the An-225s 138 tons...
But as I have mentioned most of its external payloads are large and draggy but not that heavy... I think the Buran complete was about 120 tons and it wouldn't be fuelled or anything. Most of the enormous tanks the VM-T carried were empty and were fuel tanks for energyia or oxygen tanks (shorter smaller one).
The Slon, not to mention the Il-106, will take longer to field; the Il-96-500T will come out sooner & for a lot le$$.
Exactly... it will be ready to go even with old engines... and when the new engines are ready it will get even better performance... it is actually an excellent aircraft let down because it was Soviet... when the US collapses and the world airline market is all Chinese and French and Russian aircraft the same will happen to Boeings...
The skills are making aircraft. Whether it is an Il-96 Beluga that makes no sense or what we really need, the Ruslan, then they are still making aircraft. They have plenty of baccklogged work now making the rest of the 39 Il-76s.
Would be good if they could get those new Candids out because I think they will sell pretty well on the international market too... they will be a fraction of the cost of a C-17 so buying 3-4 Candids you still save money and get much better performance...
After that, the Il-96-500T will later have the same or slower rate of production & won't affect them by much.
They r hedging their bets against other projects that may not succeed in time.
The Il-96 is a big aircraft and they will never be cranking them out in enormous numbers... a couple a year would be fine for them... rocket use will build up so one or two is not going to be enough... they will probably need 8-12 of them... by the late 2020s