Russia Looking to Restore Military Transport Fleet
RIA Novosti recently quoted Lt. Gen. Viktor Kachalkin, commander of Russia’s 61st Air Army,as saying that Russia intends to step up buys of modern military transports beginning in 2012. Meanwhile, the current strategic fleet of AN-22 “Cock” turboprops, IL-76 “Candids”, and the huge AN-124 Ruslans will be modernized for another 20 years of service. Many of the planes in Russia’s current fleet entered service in the 1960s and 1970s.
The IL-76MD-90 project has already begun to install new avionics and engines in some planes, and expects to deliver 12 modernized aircraft by 2010. A similar program is contemplated for the AN-124s, whose modernized AN-124-100 version is operated by commercial charters on behalf of global outsize heavy lift customers – including NATO. The AN-22s could end up being supplanted by the AN-70, however, an A400M-sized turboprop which recently experienced a $300 million program defibrillation.
In the light transport category, Russia plans to field the IL-112V, which will also have a commercial IL-112T version. The 20-tonne medium lift category is expected to feature the jet powered Indo-Russian MRTA.