An Il-76MD-90A destroyed during a pressure test
An Il-76MD-90A destroyed during a pressure test

| Gaétan Powis | Source : Air&Cosmos 299 mots

An Il-76MD-90A destroyed during a pressure test

During a ground test, an Il-76 strategic airlifter (NATO code Candid) suffered a serious accident. While performing a pressure test, the cabin depressurized. One person died and five others were injured. The aircraft, a brand new Il-76MD-90A, was destroyed.

An accident

On March 2, Russia's United Aircraft Corporation announced that an accident occurred on one of its new Il-76MD-90A strategic transport aircraft. The aircraft in question was in a hangar at the Aviastar plant in Ulyanovsk when the incident occurred. It was undergoing a cabin pressure test, but for some unexplained reason, the aircraft lost pressure (some sources even speak of an explosion). The Russian news agency RIA states on its Telegram that the fuselage is destroyed, one person is dead and five others are injured.

Before flying, each plane leaving the assembly lines undergoes a battery of tests, including a cabin pressure test. This confirms whether or not the cabin is properly pressurized, allowing for high-altitude flight.

A brand new aircraft

The Il-76MD-90A represents the most successful version of the Il-76 (Candid). This version is produced at Aviastar's Ulyanovsk plant:

  • new wing construction process,
  • carrying capacity increases from 48 tons (Il-76MD) to 60 tons, 125 equipped paratroopers, 145 military on seats or even 225 military on a double-deck configuration,
  • four PS-90A-76 engines,
  • a glass cockpit,
  • a self-protection suite with warning sensors, an active infrared sensor and decoy launchers.

The first aircraft left the factory in December 2011 and took off for the first time on September 22, 2012. It is scheduled for acceptance by the Russian Air Force in September 2021. The second and third aircraft to leave the factory were transferred to the Beriev factories to be transformed into the A-100 forward airborne lookout and command aircraft, the improved variant of the A-50 Mainstay. However, this program seems to have been put on hold by the Russian authorities. Another version is also being developed: the Il-78M-90A aerial refueling aircraft, the improvement of the Il-78 (Midas), which was then based on the previous versions of the Candid.

Avion de transport stratégique Il-76MD-90A à l'usine Aviastar d'Ulyanovsk.
Il-76MD-90A strategic transport aircraft at the Aviastar plant in Ulyanovsk. © UAC
Avion de transport stratégique Il-76MD-90A à l'usine Aviastar d'Ulyanovsk.

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