She added that the military also wants the plane to be able to move around cargo and passengers.
In 2015 the Voronezh-based aircraft manufacturer VASO was ordered to build two such flying tankers for the Russian Aerospace Forces. The first such plane has already undergone preliminary trials.
“The initial test flights we had with fighter planes showed that the Il-96-400TZ is fully compatible with small aircraft. Just how compatible it is with bigger ones we’ll see during state trials,” Ilyushin’s Chief Designer Nikolai Talikov said.
The second test plane will be built in 2018. Both planes will be able to transport up to 65 tons of fuel across a range of 3,500 kilometers.
If the flying tankers built in Voronezh pass the tests, the plant will be given orders for an additional 30 such planes.
The Il-96 is also used as a platform for airborne command centers for the Federal Security Service and the Defense Ministry.
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