Strategic Airlifter Ilyushin IL-76 - Machtres Fighters

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Strategic Airlifter Ilyushin IL-76

Planes > transport

Role: Strategic airlifter
Manufacturer: Tashkent Aviation Production Association
Designed: by Ilyushin
First flight: March 25, 1971
Introduced: June 1974
Status: Operational
Primary users:
Russian Air Force
Ukrainian Air Force
Indian Air Force
TransAVIAexport Airlines
Number built: 960
Ilyushin Il-78
Beriev A-50

The Ilyushin Il-76 (NATO reporting name: Candid) is a multi-purpose 4-engined strategic airlifter designed by the Soviet Ilyushin bureau. It was first planned as a commercial freighter in 1967. Intended as a replacement for the An-12, the Il-76 was designed for delivering heavy machinery to remote, poorly-serviced areas of the USSR. Military versions of the Il-76 have seen widespread use in Europe, Asia and Africa, including use as an airborne refueling tanker or as a command center.

The Il-76 has seen extensive service as a commercial freighter for ramp-delivered cargo, especially for outsized or heavy items unable to be otherwise carried. It has been used as emergency response transport for civilian evacuations and to deliver humanitarian/disaster relief aid around the world, especially to undeveloped areas due to its ability to operate from unpaved runways. A water-carrying version of the plane has been effective in fire-fighting. There is also a model used for zero-G training.

The aircraft was first conceived by Ilyushin in 1967 to meet a requirement for a freighter able to carry a payload of 40 tons (88,000 lb) over a range of 5,000 km (2,700 nmi; 3,100 mi) in less than six hours, able to operate from short and unprepared airstrips, and capable of coping with the worst weather conditions likely to be experienced in Siberia and the Soviet Union's Arctic regions. It was intended as a replacement for the An-12. Another intended version was a double-decked 250-passenger airliner but that project was cancelled. The Il-76 first flew on March 25, 1971.

Production of Il-76s was placed in Tashkent Aviation Production Association in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (then a republic of the Soviet Union). Some 860 of the basic transport variants were made. In the 1990s, modernized variants were developed (MF, TF), with a cargo compartment 20 m long by 3.4 m wide by 3.4 m tall, but were not produced in significant quantity due to financial problems of the major user, the Russian Air Force. The prototype of the longer variant Il-76MF, with greater capacity, first flew on 1 August 1995. The production ceased around 1997, and the factory has since deteriorated.

Some commercial aircraft were modernized to the Il-76TD-90VD version, starting from 2004, using new PS-90 engines to meet European noise limits. Production of the Il-476 at a new production line at the Aviatstar factory in Ulyanovsk, in Russia, in cooperation with the Tashkent works, is under consideration. The construction of two prototype IL-476s has begun at the Ulyanovk facility.

Prototypes and developmental variants

Izdeliye-176: prototype Il-76PP.
Izdeliye-676: Telemetry and communications relay aircraft, for use during trial programmes (prototype).
Izdeliye-776: Telemetry and communications relay aircraft, for use during trial programmes (prototype).
IZdeliye-976 ("SKIP") - Airborne Check-Measure-and-Control Center): Il-76/A-50 based Range Control and Missile tracking platform. Initially built to support Raduga Kh-55 cruise missile tests.
Izdeliye-1076: Special mission aircraft for unknown duties.
Izdeliye-1176: ELINT electronic intelligence aircraft, a.k.a. Il-76-11
Il-76TD-90 / Il-76MD-90: Engine upgrades to Perm PS-90s.
Il-76 firebomber: Fire-fighting aircraft to drop exploding capsules filled with fire retardant.
Il-76PSD: SAR version of Il-76MF
Il-96: Early development of convertible passenger/cargo aircraft, (project only, designation re-used later)
Il-150: proposed Beriev A-50 with Perm PS-90 engines.
Beriev A-60: Airborne laser weapon testbed. (Il-76 version 1A)

Military variants

Il-76-Tu160 tailplane transporter: One-off temporary conversion to support Tu-160 emergency modification programme.
Il-76D: ('D' for "Paratrooper transport") has a gun turret in the tail for defensive purposes.
Il-76K/Il-76MDK/Il-76MDK-II: Zero-g cosmonaut trainer (dlya podgotovki kosmonavtov), for Yuri Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Center.
Il-76LL: Engine testbed, (ooniversahl'naya letayuschchaya laboratoriya).
Il-76M: Military transport version, (modifitseerovannyy - modified).
Il-76MD: Improved military transport version, (modifitseerovannyy Dahl'ny - modified, long-range).
Il-76MD Skal'pel-MT: - Mobile Hospital
Il-76M / Il-76MD: Built without military equipment but designated as Ms and MDs (Gordon - 'Falsies')
Il-76MD-90: An Il-76MD with quieter and more economical Aviadvigatel PS-90 engines.
Il-76MF: Stretched military version with a 6.6 m longer fuselage, PS-90 engines, maximum take-off mass 210 t and lift capability of 60 tonnes. First flew in 1995, not built in series so far.
Il-76PP: ECM aircraft, major problems with ECM equipment on the Izdeliye-176 only.
Il-76MD PS: Maritime Search and Rescue aircraft, (poiskovo-spasahtel'nyy).
Il-76T/Il-76TD: Built as military aircraft but given civilian designations. (Gordon - 'Falsie')
Il-78 / Il-78M: Aerial refuelling tanker.
Il-82: Airborne Command Post/communications relay aircraft, (alternative designation - Il-76VKP-'version65S').
Beriev A-50/Beriev A-50M/Beriev A-50I/Beriev A-50E: - Airborne Early Warning & Control aircraft. Beriev given control over the program.

Civil variants

Il-76MGA: Initial Commercial freighter. (2 prototypes and 12 production)
Il-76MD to Il-76TD conversions: Complete removal of Military equipment, identified by crude cover over OBIGGS inlet in Starboard Sponson.
Il-76P / Il-76TP / Il-76TDP / Il-76MDP: Firefighting aircraft. The Il-76 waterbomber is a VAP-2 1.5 hour install/removal tanking kit conversion. The Il-76 can carry up to 13,000 U.S. gallons (49,000 liters) of water; 3.5 times the capacity of the C-130 Hercules. Since this kit can be installed on any Il-76, the designation Il-76TP, Il-76TDP are also used when those versions of the Il-76 are converted into waterbombers. The Il-76P was first unveiled in 1990.
Il-76T: unarmed civil cargo transport version. NATO code-name "Candid-A". It first flew on November 4, 1978.
Il-76TD: The civil equivalent of the Il-76MD, first flew in 1982.
Il-76TD-90VD: An Il-76TD with Aviadvigatel PS-90 engines and a partial glass cockpit. It was developed specially for Volga-Dnepr cargo company. 3 aircraft had been built already
Il-76TD-S: Civilian mobile Hospital, similar to Il-76MD Skal'pel-MT.
Il-76TF: Civil transport stretched version with Aviadvigatel PS-90 engines. It is the civil version of the Il-76MF (none produced).

Foreign variants

A-50 Phalcon: For the Indian Air Force. Hosts Israeli Phalcon radar for AWACS and Aviadvigatel PS-90 engines.
Il-76MD tanker: Iraqi Air Force tanker conversions.
KJ-2000: Domestic Chinese AWACS conversion of Il-76, developed after A-50I was cancelled and currently in service with the armed forces of China.
CFTE engine testbed: The China Flight Test Establishment (CFTE) currently operates a flying testbed converted from a Russian-made Il-76MD jet transport aircraft to serve as a flying testbed for future engine development programmes. The first engine to be tested on the aircraft is the WS-10A “Taihang” turbofan, currently being developed as the powerplant for China’s indigenous J-10 and J-11 fighter aircraft. The #76456 Il-76MD, acquired by the AVIC 1 from Russia in the 1990s, is currently based at CFTE’s flight test facility at Yanliang, Shaanxi Province.
Baghdad-1: Iraqi development with a radar mounted in the cargo hold, used in the Iran - Iraq war.
Baghdad-2: Iraqi development (with French assistance) with fibreglass-reinforced plastic radome over the antenna of the Thomson-CSF Tiger G surveillance radar with a maximum detection range of 350 km (189 nmi, 217.5 mi). One was destroyed on the ground during the Persian Gulf War but two others (Adnan-1 and Adnan-2) were flown to Iran where they remained. They were re-named Simorgh and probably modified. At least one was put back to service with IRIAF since on 22 September 2009, one of them crashed during a midair collision with a HESA Saeqeh fighter jet during the annual Iranian military parade in Teheran. The other one is believed to be not flightworthy as of 2009. It can be easily distinguished from the Beriev A-50 by having the Il-76 navigator windows in the nose, which the A-50 does not.

General characteristics

Crew: 5–7
Capacity: 40,000 kg (Il-76)
Payload: 45 – 47 tonnes (~50 tons)
Length: 46.59 m (152 ft 10 in)
Wingspan: 50.5 m (165 ft 8 in)
Height: 14.76 m (48 ft 5 in)
Wing area: 300.0 m² (3,229.2 ft²)
Empty weight: 72,000 kg (Il-76) (159,000 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 157,000 kg (Il-76)(346,000 lb (Il-76))
Powerplant: 4× Soloviev D-30KP turbofans, 118 kN (26,500 lbf) each


Maximum speed: 900 km/h (490 kt, 560 mph,) Mach 0.82 depending on altitude
Range: 3,650 km (Il-76) () with max payload
Service ceiling: 13,000 m (42,700 ft)
Rate of climb: m/s (ft/min)
Wing loading: 566.7 kg/m² (Il-76M/T) (116.05 lb/ft² (Il-76M/T), 129.72 lb/ft² (Il-76MD/TD))
Thrust/weight: 0.305 (Il-76)
minimal landing run: 450 m with thrust reversal


Guns: 2× 23 mm cannon in radar-directed manned turret at base of tail
Bombs: Some military models have 2 hardpoints under each outer wing capable of supporting 500 kg bombs.

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