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VASO assembles first Il-96-400M fuselage

Russian manufacturer VASO has completed joining the first airframe for a new Ilyushin Il-96 derivative.

VASO describes the event as "a significant step" in the project to develop a passenger variant of the Il-96-400T freighter, designated the -400M.

The airframe will shortly move to the final assembly line, says VASO. It expects systems integration to be completed by the end of 2020.

The first Il-96-400M flight is scheduled for 2021. Like the cargo version, the aircraft will be powered by four enhanced Aviadvigatel PS-90A1 engines.

With a fuselage 9.65m longer than the baseline Il-96-300's, the new airliner is set to accommodate around 400 passengers.

The Il-96-400M project is largely sponsored by the government, and Vaso envisages building six examples.

Its parent, United Aircraft, deems the aircraft crucial to preserving domestic competencies in building long-haul widebody transports.

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