Key Points:

  • United Aircraft's Ilyushin Il-96-400M successfully completes its first flight, testing stability, control, and systems operability.

  • The modernized aircraft features domestic equipment, fitting within Russia's strategy of import substitution and aerospace independence.

  • With advanced navigation systems and the capacity to carry up to 370 passengers, the Il-96-400M bolsters Russia's long-haul aviation capabilities.

Russia Enhances Long-Haul Fleet with Revamped Ilyushin Il-96-400M

United Aircraft's Ilyushin Il-96-400M, a modernized version of the venerable four-engine airliner, has successfully completed its inaugural flight. The aircraft, showcasing the company's corporate livery, ascended into the skies from Voronezh on November 1st for a 26-minute test flight.

The purpose of the maiden flight was to evaluate the aircraft's stability and control mechanisms, as well as the functionality of its powerplants and landing systems. United Aircraft reported that the aircraft's test program was executed flawlessly, with all domestic equipment performing up to expectations.

Technical Prowess and Domestic Ingenuity at Play

The crew on board the Il-96-400M, comprising two pilots, a navigator, an engineer, and a test specialist, put the aircraft through its paces. Equipped with Aviadvigatel PS-90A1 engines, the jet reached altitudes of 2,000 meters (6,600 feet) and speeds of 210 knots.

Denis Manturov, Russia's Minister of Trade and Industry, commended the aircraft for retaining the "high performance" of its Il-96-300 predecessor while introducing additional capabilities. He highlighted the Il-96-400M's potential to expand and enhance Russia's proficiency in constructing widebody long-haul aircraft.

Compared to the -300 variant, the modernized jet's fuselage is extended by 9.35 meters, allowing it to accommodate up to 370 passengers. The aircraft is outfitted with upgraded navigation and radio communications systems, designed to enhance flight safety and streamline the landing approach for crews.

Aligning with Strategic Aims and Expanding the Domestic Fleet

United Aircraft's general director, Yuri Slyusar, emphasized that the Il-96-400M enriches the company's aircraft lineup, which includes the Yakovlev SJ-100 and MC-21-310, as well as the revitalized Tupolev Tu-214. Slyusar noted that these aircraft types are capable of substituting foreign-built models across Russian networks.

In line with the Russian government's strategic program for import-substitution, United Aircraft's emphasis on domestic production and reduced dependence on foreign suppliers is particularly crucial in the wake of international sanctions stemming from the Ukrainian conflict.

The company also announced that the passenger cabin of the Il-96-400M can be arranged in various classes and is equipped with modern galleys and an in-flight entertainment system, offering internet and satellite communications access. These features align with the latest European requirements for navigation capability, especially pertinent for operations over remote areas.