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The United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) is looking to attract India, the world’s third-largest Il-76 operator, as a potential buyer for its latest offering, the Il-76MD-90A. Unveiled at the World Defense Show 2024 in Saudi Arabia, this upgraded transport aircraft claims significant improvements over its predecessor.

Recognizing the growing commercial air cargo market in India, UAC is also developing a civilian variant of the Il-76MD-90A. This adaptation aims to cater to the needs of commercial cargo operators like those in India’s booming logistics sector.

With an average age of 40 years, India’s fleet of Il-76 aircraft necessitates replacement. The Indian Air Force Chief has confirmed plans to begin acquiring replacements by 2030 onwards, opening a window of opportunity for UAC.

The Il-76MD-90A presents itself as a potential contender to fill the gap in India’s transport aircraft fleet. Its familiarity with the existing Il-76 platform, combined with the upgrades and potential civilian variants, could make it an attractive option for both the IAF and commercial operators.

Modernizing the Il-76 Legacy:

The Il-76MD-90A boasts a deep modernization over the classic Il-76. While retaining its familiar silhouette, it features key advancements like:

  • Reinforced wings built using modern technologies for enhanced structural integrity.
  • Powerful PS-90A-76 engines for improved fuel efficiency and performance.
  • Advanced avionics and navigation systems for increased safety and operational effectiveness.

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