The Russian Aerospace Forces will receive two such aircraft. One of them is in production. It is also possible that in the future the Russian Army will order a third air command post.
RIA Novosti makes it clear that the project is called “Link-3C”. The aircraft’s radio complex will make it possible to communicate with submarines carrying nuclear weapons, as well as mobile missile launchers and silos within a radius of 6,000 km.
When in operation, the doomsday plane will be accompanied by a fighter throughout the journey, this vehicle also has the ability to refuel to increase the range twice. The new aircraft will replace the old and decommissioned Il-80.
In 2020, a source in the defense industry reported that Russia’s strategic airborne command posts (VKP), aka “Doomsday Aircraft” were planned to move from the airframe Il-80 to Il-96-400M. “The Ministry of Defense plans to replace the Il-80 with the Il-96-400M. This will greatly increase the combat mission time of the air command post and will increase the coverage in the role of command as well as control,”
Currently, the second generation airborne command post based on the Il-80 is created on the basis of the Il-86 aircraft. VKP is part of the Air Command System of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.