A product of Western Insanity.
2016 made it very clear to everyone not in America, or NATO, that the entire existence of NATO was not defense, but to influence Russian policy by threat of force.
In fact, Russia became a dirty word for merely existing. All for the sin of elected leaders wanting to improve relations. Conspiracy theorists in the media dragged the rabble back into cold-war era insanity because the opposition wanted their team to win so badly they needed to blame everyone but themselves.
Nations seek to render Russia’s borders illegitimate. They question historical and ethnic ties on a daily basis.
The sanctions, largely for domestic consumption, hurt both the Russian people and those of the countries they live in. There is no benefit.
The insane and bellicose, Western ideology towards Russian diplomacy has actually re-enforced their narrative of their government and country being a besieged castle.
They’re not paranoid, everyone really is against them. This is not a productive relationship. Nor is it a healthy relationship.
This is not a relationship that actually benefits anyone who lives on Earth that doesn’t have a vested interest in dying in the Third World War they were promised in 1950’s private school kindergarten.
But, either way, here we are.
Russia, probably correctly, believes that the West will use another domestic problem as an excuse to cut off aircraft deliveries to their airlines. They need to be ready for when the next crop of geriatric, millenarist, cold war crazies decides to throw a tantrum.
The thing is, you never take something away from a Russian – they just do it themselves, and usually just as well but in an entirely different way than you would. Or, you know, win a war you didn’t really want to fight for you – then let you take all the credit; even if 27 million of their own people died in it. Russians are nice like that.
Isn’t the Il-96 really old?
It’s an IL-86NEO if you think about it. Okay, an NEO with fly-by-wire, supercritical wings, and a modern glass cockpit.
In many ways, it is more of an IL-86M (where M is used in the sense of Tu-22M. And it shares nothing but the same original designation.)
The Il-96 first flew in 1988 and was given type certification in 1992. It was, therefore, the first Russian widebody airliner. Rather than Soviet.
The Il-96’s biggest issue was its insufficient engines relative to the new and foreign competition.
Aerodynamically, it was ahead of its time.
Those, relatively, thirsty PS-90 engines doomed the program harder than Yeltsin selling his nation out to the highest bidder while allowing NATO to encircle his country in their quest to remain relevant after the Cold War ended.
Why update the Il-96?
Thanks to the insanity of Western hysteria over things that never happened and were proven by impartial bodies to have never happened – Russia doesn’t have the money it once did during the era of speculation-driven ultra-high oil prices.
On top of that, America has OPEC over a barrel and the illegal cartel can no longer restrict supply to the detriment of everyone’s economy. Sadly, that was very good for Russia.
So… between that and the low Ruble, short-term widebody projects can’t cost a lot of money. Especially when UAC has a real contender of an aircraft with the MC-21. Far better use of resources beyond the MC-21’s international potential.
In fact, the IL-96-400M will use the same PD-14 engines that may find themselves on the MC-21. Interesting, isn’t it?
There’s a proposal out there to turn the Il-496 into a twin, using PD-35 engines that will produce close to 80,000lbs of thrust. Apparently, that could happen around 2025, though by then the Sino-Russian CR929 may be well under development.
Will anyone order it?
Well, no. No with a but.
A better question is, will any commercial customers order it? Why?
Because VVS will. The Russian State Transport Company will need new VVIP aircraft. The thing
No one could possibly be that dumb. So, ordering some of Voronezh’s finest that may not be as efficient as even more modern Russian projects is a no brainer. Currently, the VVS operates a few modified Il-86s as their equivalent E-4Bs.
Those, too, need replacing. Again, cannot use a Western frame for aircraft responsible for carrying out the, manned, portion of the Russian SIOP in a scenario where there is an opportunity for such options to be deployed. At least.
Of course, if the West completely descends further into baseless anti-Russian paranoia, despite their conspiracy theory being disproven… Aeroflot will need new aircraft.
The question also arises as to whether or not one can truly trust China as a reliable partner with the CR929. Mao made Stalin wait. Mao humiliated Khrushchev.
The Chinese government has shown that they are not above snubbing the Russian people both diplomatically and economically. While the relationship is good now, how do we know it will stay that way?
We don’t. Russia needs its own aeronautical projects to maintain its knowledge-base and continue to advance. Hopefully further out of the gutter Yeltsin let it sink into.