March 29th marks 33 years since its maiden flight, but a soon-to-come variant may be a game-changer.
In the late 1980s, the Ilyushin Design Bureau got to work on a replacement aircraft for the aging Antonov An-24 and IL-14 airliners. At the time, many of these short to medium-haul aircraft flew around Russia, particularly with Aeroflot. In hopes of producing a new turboprop aircraft for passenger operation, freight transportation, or scientific studies, the Ilyushin IL-114 was born.
Designed to carry 64 passengers on domestic routes, the IL-114 features two Klimov TV7-117S engines, rated at 1,900kW each, that allow it to fly at max speeds of 500 km/h (310 m/h) and as far as 1,000 km at max capacity. The aircraft’s maximum takeoff weight is 23,500 (25.9 tons), and it can take off on any runway 1,500 meters (4900 ft) or greater. Production of the airliner initially took place in Tashkent, Uzbekistan; however, it has since moved to Voronezh, a city 500 km south of Moscow.
Variants of the IL-114
While the An-24 and IL-14 enjoyed an excellent production run of over 1,000 models each, the IL-114 garnered much less hype. Only 20 models have been produced, with the most significant operator being Uzbekistan Airways, and the rest seemingly divided up for various uses. While ch-aviation shows five previously or actively used variants between the 20 produced models, according to Aerospace Technology, as many as ten variants have been designed.
The standard IL-114, along with the -100 and -120, only differ in engines. Next is the 114T, the freighter version made for Uzbekistan Airways. The IL-114P, MP, and -140P are all different maritime patrol variants, with the latter capable of ecological monitoring and search and rescue missions. Other military versions include the -114FK and PR, designed for electronic and signal intelligence. Lastly, the IL-114-300 is a much-improved version that could become vital for Russia in the coming years.
How Russia plans to utilize the -300 to connect the nation
In 2021, the Russian government revealed that they were keen on getting all domestic routes covered by locally-owned manufacturers. By 2030, only Russian-built airliners will service short-haul routes nationwide, and while the Irkut MC-21 will likely be the main workhorse, the IL-114-300 may fill gaps no other aircraft can.
Russia is vast and features many rural communities with small airfields, limited facilities, and harsh climates. Fortunately, if needed, the -300 can be deployed in areas with short and unpaved runways and with ski and wheel landing gear. Airlines based in areas with challenging weather patterns have shown demand.
According to ch-aviation, Aurora, based at Vladivostok International Airport in the Russian Far East, has ordered 19 -300s. Based approximately 500 km north of Moscow, Vologda Air Enterprise also purchased a couple. Corner carriers in Siberia, such as Polar Airlines and KrasAvia, have shown interest, though they have yet to place a formal order.
Have you ever spotted an IL-114? What do you think of the upcoming IL-114-300? Let us know in the comment section below.
Sources: Aerospace-Technology, ch-aviation, Airlines Inform