Wednesday, March 01, 2017

India Mulls Ilyushin Airlifter and Tanker Upgrades

The Ilyushin Design Bureau has reported progress with Indian defense officials on agreeing an upgrade and life extension for that country’s Il-76/78 fleet. It also has offered India the upgraded Il-78MD-90A aerial tanker, and licensed production of the Ilyushin Il-114-300 regional turboprop for both civil and military missions.

At the recent Aero India show, the Indian defense ministry made public its “decision in principle” made earlier this year for a lifetime extension (up to 40 years) and a modernization of the 16 Il-76MD airlifters and eight Il-78MKI aerial tankers already in Indian Air Force (IAF) service. A similar decision is expected soon for the five Il-38SD anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft serving with the Indian Navy.

The Il-114 license offer was made during the show. Production of the type is being restarted at the new location of Lukhovitsy, south of Moscow. According to Russian negotiators, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd has signaled an intent to produce both civilian and military versions of the Il-114 under the Make in India program. The two sides are discussing ways HAL and other Indian companies can supply parts and components to Russia for completion of newly made Il-114s. The issue is expected to be discussed in detail during the next meeting of the inter-government commission on military-technical cooperation.

The Il-114-300 is viewed as a platform for development of a next-generation ASW aircraft to replace the Il-38 whose production discontinued in 1972. The Indian navy has been operating the Il-38SD version since 2010, when its first aircraft underwent a lifetime-extension and modernization program in Russia. But there were extensive delays and performance shortcomings, although these issues have since been resolved. The navy’s five remaining Il-38s are soon due for maintenance, during which they can receive upgrades similar to those now being made to the Russian navy’s Il-38Ns, with the more advanced Novella P-38 sensor suite.
28/02/17 Vladimir Karnozov/AINonline