The Ilyushin Il-112V military transport aircraft program has been suspended indefinitely, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported on Tuesday. According to the publication, the project will resume only after the conclusion of the investigation of the fatal accident with the first prototype of the aircraft in August 2021.
A source told the agency that assembly work on the second and third Il-112V had also been stalled. The decision to proceed with the project will be taken by the Russian Ministry of Defense based on the results of the accident investigation.
“In order not to duplicate the work, not to spend extra funds and not create prerequisites to break the deadlines of contractual obligations, the project was suspended until the conclusions of the commission, having documented it,” explained the source.
On 17 August 2021, the single Il-112V prototype crashed at Kubinka, near Moscow, killing all three occupants. The aircraft had resumed flight testing after a long hiatus of two years.
The Il-112V is the first airlifter created from scratch in Russia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The aircraft is proposed to replace the former Antonov An-26 and An-32 military freighters, which were some of the planes most popular of the Soviet period produced between 1959 and 1986.
As has often been the case with Russian projects, the development of the Il-112V was greatly delayed. The first turboprop sketches appeared in the early 1990s, but the project took almost 30 years to reach the test flight phase in 2019.
Despite the initial problems, the Il-112V appears to be a promising aircraft to replace the old Antonov freighters in the Russian fleet. The Ilyushin plane can take off a maximum weight of 21,000 kg, including 5,000 kg of payloads. According to the manufacturer, the twin engine reaches a maximum speed of 500 km/h and the range varies from 2,400 km to 5,200 km, depending on the load carried.