Russia Will Convert Four-Engine Ilyushin Il-96 Aircraft to Two-Engine, Here's the Reason!

Russia Will Convert Four-Engine Ilyushin Il-96 Aircraft to Two-Engine, Here's the Reason!
Russia Will Convert Four-Engine Ilyushin Il-96 Aircraft to Two-Engine

Moscow - If you can have two, why have four. Not the other way around. This is what Russia is currently preparing to change the commercial jet Ilyushin Il-96 from originally having four engines to having two engines. Changing the number of engines is planned to be carried out in 2025, while waiting for the development of the domestic PD-35 engine to be completed.

The four-engined Ilyushin Il-96 may lose two turbofans by 2025, but that's good news. Russia hopes to convert aircraft made in the 1980s to accept the PD-35 engine, which is being developed in the country.

According to Alexander Inozemtsev, director of the UEC-Aviadvigatel manufacturer, the twin-engine Il-96 is part of Putin's future presidential aircraft. Russia's hopes for the PD-35 turbofan are high as it is the largest engine the country has ever produced. The main aircraft to be equipped with the engine is the CR929, a widebody similar to the Boeing 787 that is being developed in partnership with China.

But the plans of UAC, the holding company that controls Russia's top aerospace manufacturer, are broader, including converting current four-engine aircraft such as the Il-76 and Il-96 to twin-engine ones. Currently, Russia is struggling to resume production of some of its older aircraft and only has the old PS-90 turbofans, which have limited thrust and consume a lot of fuel.

In addition to the PD-35, UEC-Aviadvigatel is finalizing the PD-14 certification, which will equip the MC-21, Russia's most advanced single-aisle jet. It also advances the design of the PD-8, a small turbofan that will be used in a revised version of the Sukhoi SuperJet regional jet, the SSJ-New.

Nonetheless, the PD-35 is by far the company's biggest challenge. It will outperform the D-18T, the largest engine used in former Soviet Union aircraft such as the An-124 and An-225.

According to Rostec, the turbofan will range from 24 to 38 tons of thrust. A prototype is expected to make its maiden flight in 2023, although this is unlikely given the current stage of the program.

The Il-96 was developed in the 1980's. This aircraft is also one of the variants used as the current Russian presidential aircraft, namely the Il-96-300PU. By later changing to a two-engined aircraft, it seems that the Il-96 will still be used as a presidential aircraft.

Regarding the PD-35 turbofan engine itself, this is the largest aircraft engine to be produced by Russia. The main aircraft to be equipped with this engine is the CR929, a Boeing 787-like widebody developed in partnership with China.

Not only the Il-96, later the Il-76 aircraft will also be converted into a two-engine with a PD-35 engine. In addition to completing the development of the PD-35 engine, United Engine Corporation (UEC) stated that it was also completing the certification of the PD-14 engine which would equip the MC-21 aircraft, Russia's newest single-aisle jet.

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