A modernized and heavily modified Ilyushin Il-96-300 set to become one of Russia’s presidential aircraft performed its maiden flight on April 9, 2021. The plane was assembled at the Voronezh Aviation Plant. It will undergo factory tests before entering service.

“During the flight at altitudes from 5000 to 9000 meters, the stability, controllability of the aircraft, the operability of all its systems and the engines were checked,” UAC wrote in a press release. The test flight, which lasted for about two hours, was deemed successful.

According to its manufacturer, the avionics of the aircraft were modernized to meet European and international standards. “In particular, the aircraft is equipped with a modernized flight and navigation system,” UAC commented.

The Ilyushin Il-96 was designed in the mid-80s and first flew in 1988. Since 1996, a highly modified version called the Il-96-300PU has been the main aircraft for the transportation of the President of the Russian Federation. Like most presidential aircraft, it features an advanced communication system and missile countermeasures.

The aircraft will eventually be delivered to the Special Flight Detachment "Rossiya," in charge of operating Russia’s VIP fleet that transports officials of the state, including the president.

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