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Russia's upgraded Il-76MD-M aircraft begins state flight trials

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The upgraded Il-76MD-M military transport aircraft. A Russian MoD photo

MOSCOW (BNS): Russia's refurbished Il-76MD-M military transport aircraft has begun its state flight tests led by the Defence Ministry last week.

The aircraft, an upgraded variant of the Ilyusin-built Il-76MD transport plane, took to the sky in the Zhukovsky city near Moscow on June 14, the Russian Defence Ministry announced.

The first flight lasted more than six hours. The aircraft was operated by a joint crew of test pilots of the VP Chkalov State Flight Test Centre of the Russian Defence Ministry and the SV Ilyushin Aviation Complex, the MoD said.

The Il-76MD-M was test flown for the first time in February 2016 as part of manufacturer testing.

The Russian Defence Ministry, which has ordered some 30 such platforms for the country's Air Force, expects to start accepting the upgraded planes from 2018 onwards.

The IL-76MD-M is a project to modernise the Il-76MD-type aircraft with updating the flight-navigation complex, lighting, landing-and-transport and living equipment, means of defence and signal communications. Also, the aircraft will get elements of the "glass cabin".

The assigned service life of the aircraft is extended up to 40 years, according to the Russian MoD.

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