A heavily modernized version of the iconic Il-78 aerial fuel tanker plane has performed its maiden flight. The plane boasts new engines and wings, as well as an increased flight range and fuel capacity.
The new plane, named Il-78M-90A, successfully took to the skies for the very first time on January 25. The plane was designed by the Ilyushin Aviation Complex and manufactured by Aviastar-SP in the city of Ulyanovsk.
The new plane is fitted with new wings and modern PS-90A-76 engines, which are more powerful and some 14 percent more fuel-efficient than those of the Soviet-era models. The new machine therefore boasts a larger flight range and can carry more juice to refuel other planes.
The Il-78M-90A has also retained an important perk from the original Il-78, as it can easily be converted into a general-purpose transport plane in the field. The aircraft can also be fitted with fire-extinguishing equipment.