An investigation has been launched after sneak pictures of the interior of the customised Ilyushin Il-96-300 destined for Russia's presidential transport emerged over the weekend on several blog sites.
Avi Abrams's Presidential Jets series on his Dark Roasted Blend blog has the entire series of photos of the long-range widebody Il-96 (pictured below). The aircraft was commissioned from Voronezh Aircraft Plant (VASO) in 2001 and has just emerged fully completed and ready for certification.
The first source of the photos is believed to be a blog by Russian pilot 'Hectop', who may have obtained them from an employee at VASO althought they have now featured in manjor newspapers including Kommersant.
Little-known government aircraft completion centre Diamonite Aircraft Furnishings, based in Bristol, UK, is reported to have carried out the compltion, which includes artefacts drawn from incumbent president Vladimir Putin's naval past as well as Russian art.
The contract with Diamonite is thought to be worth around £10 million ($20 million).
Russian television has carried reports saying an investigation into the leak had been launched, with NTV Mir station adding: "All technical information on the 'closed project' is a state secret."