The sheer size of the snow-white airliner demands respect. Its length reaches almost 65 metres, and the wingspan exceeds 65 metres. The differences between the technical characteristics of the IL-96-300PU and the basic passenger model are minimal. Like the original, the maximum takeoff mass of the presidential aircraft is around 270 tonnes and max cruising speed tops out at 900 kilometres per hour.
The service ceiling of the aircraft is 12,000 metres. However, modifications have been made to the maximum flight length without refuelling. Putin’s IL-96-300PU has a significantly longer range than the standard model.
While the exterior of the aircraft looks largely the same as the basic model, the cabin is lavishly decorated with tapestries and gold accents. The furniture and interior décor are finished in the neoclassical style. The current interior design was completed according to the sketches of Ivan Glazunov, the son of revered Russian artist Ilya Glazunov.
The interior has been fully customized to allow the president to work and rest in comfort. The presidential airplane is equipped with a spacious office, a bedroom and a fully-equipped gym.
Of course, an airliner as large as the IL-96-300PU requires superior security. This coverage is provided by the pilots of the Russian Aerospace Forces’ special squad, both inside and outside of Russian territory. Putin’s personal aircraft has several layers of protection against potential attacks from land or from the air.
The aircraft’s body has a special coating that makes the plane less visible to RCS, an automated system of jamming and disorienting radars, as well as its own anti-aircraft defence system. Further details on the plane’s security are a state secret protected by the Federal Security Service.
The presidential air squad is comprised of four of the president‘s first-choice aircraft rather than one. This is not a case of reliability, but one of security. As soon as knowledge of an international flight is public, all four aircraft are readied for departure. The specific plane to be used by Vladimir Putin is not known until take-off. After the choice is made, either one or all three of the remaining airplanes follow the president as the reserve. In total, the air squad's fleet is made up of 68 airplanes. 64 of them are utilised, while the remaining four are kept in storage.
What is the total building cost of each presidential IL-96-300PU? It is impossible to find an exact answer based on the available information. However, we are able to estimate that the basic cost of the IL-96-300PU is around 3.9 billion rupees. On top of that, the price of the presidential passenger cabin, security measures, communication systems and changes in airliner construction could raise this cost substantially.