The Ilyushin Il-76 (NATO reporting name: Candid) is a multi-purpose four-engined strategic airlifter designed by the Ilyushin design bureau. It was first planned as a commercial freighter in 1967. Intended as a replacement for the Antonov 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. Specialist models have also been produced for aerial fire-fighting and zero-G training.
Design and development
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. In 2005, China ordered in Russia 34 new Il-76MDs and 4 Il-78 tankers, and the factory in Tashkent produced 16 incomplete airframes. In 2004, A PLAAF (People's Liberation Army Air Force) Il-76 carried out flight mission in Afghanistan, later in 2011, PLAAF Il-76s were sent to Libya to evacuate Chinese citizens. The two missions were reported first steps of PLAAF developing long-range transportation capacity.
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.
airmen work inside the cockpit of an Indian Il-76.
First aircraft were delivered to the Soviet Air Force in June 1974. Next it became the main Soviet strategic transport aircraft. From 1976 it was operated by the Aeroflot lines.
Between 1979 and 1991, the Soviet Air Force Il-76s made 14,700 flights into Afghanistan, transporting 786,200 servicemen, and 315,800 tons of freight. The Il-76 carried 89% of Soviet troops and 74% of the freight that was airlifted. As Afghan rebels were unable to shoot down high-flying Il-76s, their tactics were to try and damage it at take-off or landing. Il-76s were often hit by shoulder-launched Stinger and Strela heat-seeking missiles and large-calibre machine-gun fire, but because the strong airframes were able to take substantial damage and still remain operational, the aircraft had a remarkably low attrition rate during the period of conflict. Building on that experience, the bulk of the Canadian Forces equipment into Afghanistan is flown in using civilian Il-76. In 2006, the Russian Air Force had about 200 Il-76s. Civilian users in Russia have 108.
Il-76s sitting on the ramp at the Tripoli Airport were bombed by USAF F-111s during Operation El Dorado Canyon in April 1986.
The Il-76 is also in use as an airborne tanker, otherwise known as a refueller (Il-78, some 50 were made), and a waterbomber. Its airframe was used as a base for the Beriev A-50 'Mainstay' AWACS aircraft (some 25 were made). Still more applications have been found in Antarctic support flights and simulated weightlessness training for cosmonauts. Beriev and NPO Almaz also developed an airborne laser flying laboratory designated A-60, of which two were built, although little is known about it, as the project is still classified.
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") - (СКИП - Самолетный Контрольно-Измерительный Пункт, 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)
An Il-78MKI in-service with the Indian Air Force
- Il-76-Tu160 tailplane transporter: One-off temporary conversion to support Tu-160 emergency modification programme.
- Il-76D: ('D' for "Desantnyi", Десантный - "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, just built for Jordan.
- 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-78 MKI: A customized version of the Il-78 developed for the Indian Air Force.
- 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.
- Il-76MDM: modernized Il-76MD for the Russian Air Force.
- Il-476(Il-76MD-90A): An updated version with a new glass cockpit and Aviadvigatel PS-90 engines.
A commercial variant of Ilyushin Il-76 loading cargo at Ali Base in Iraq
- 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: ('T' for Transport, Транспортный) 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, which operates 4 aircraft as of 2012.
- 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).
- Il-476(Il-76TD-90A): An updated version with a new glass cockpit and Aviadvigatel PS-90 engines.
The A-50E/I Mainstay of the Indian Air Force.
- A-50E/I 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; two others were flown to Iran where they remained. At least one went into service with IRIAF. One aircraft crashed following a midair collision with a HESA Saeqeh fighter during the annual Iranian military parade in Teheran. It can be distinguished from the Beriev A-50 by having the Il-76 navigator windows in the nose, which the A-50 does not.
Present and ex-Il-76 operators. (Red=Military only. Green=Civilian only. Blue=Both)
Military and civil operators in 38 countries have operated 850+ Il-76 in large numbers. While Russia is the largest military operator of the Il-76, followed by Ukraine and India, Belarus' TransAVIAexport Airlines is the largest civilian operator. In the list below, known current operators are listed in italics.
- United Nations
- The Algerian Air Force operates 11 Il-76 aircraft, including 3 Il-76MD, 8 Il-76TD, and 7 Il-78 Midas.
- Burkina Faso
- Imtrec Aviation has operated a Laotian registered Il-76.
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Republic of the Congo
- The Republic of the Congo operates an Il-76.
- Cubana used to operate 2 Il-76s
- Equatorial Guinea
- Ecuatorial Cargo operates 1 Il-76TD.
- Express International Cargo
- Sun Way operates the Il-76TD.
- Atlant Hungary has operated the Il-76.
- Hungarian Ukrainian Air Cargo has operated the Il-76
Indian air force pilots walk away from their IL-76 medium cargo jet after landing at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.
- The Indian Air Force current fixed-wing transport fleet comprises 24 IL-76 and more than 100 AN-32s. 17 Il-76MD, 6 Il-78MKI aircraft and 2 A-50 with Israeli Phalcon radars for AWACS. Mostly for transporting ration in high altitude regions in Jammu and Kashmir and Siachen region
- Imtrec aviation of Cambodia operates Laos registered Il-76TD.
- Inversija operates 3, including 2 Il-76T and 1 Il-76TD.
- Aerocom operated an Il-76MD as well as an Il-76T until as late as January 2005.
- Airline Transport operated a number of Il-76 aircraft, losing 3 in accidents in 2004 and 2005.
- Jet Line International operates the Il-76
- North Korea
- The Russian Air Force inherited large numbers of the aircraft from the Soviet Air Force in 1991, and 119 currently remain in service.
- The Ministry of Emergency Situations operates an Il-76TD.
- Abakan Avia operates 3 Il-76TD.
- Aeroflot operated large numbers of aircraft, especially during Soviet years, often on behalf of the Soviet military. However, none remain in service with the airline.
- Air STAN operated an Il-76TD.
- 'Airlines 400 operates 2 Il-76TD.
- Airstars Airways operates 4 Il-76TD on cargo services.
- ALAK operated Il-76 aircraft before its closure in 1999.
- Alrosa-Avia operates 4 Il-76TD on charter services.
- Aram Air
- Atlant-Soyuz Airlines operates 6, including 2 Il-76MD and 4 Il-76TD.
- ATRAN Cargo Airlines operates 5, including 3 Il-76T and 2 Il-76TD. At least one Il-76M may have been operated in the past.
- Atruvera Aviation operates 3, including 1 Il-76MD and 2 Il-76TD.
- Aviacon Zitotrans operates 5, including 4 Il-76TD.
- Aviaenergo operated the aircraft, but none remain in service.
- Aviast operates 4, including 1 Il-76MD and 3 Il-76TD.
- Border Guard Service of Russia
- Continental Airways has operated the Il-76 in the past, but does not do so currently.
- Dacono Air has operated the Il-76.
- Domodedovo Airlines has operated the Il-76, but none is currently in service.
- East Line operates the Il-76.
- Ilavia Airline operates 6, including 2 Il-76MD and 4 Il-76TD.
- KrasAir operated the Il-76, but none is currently in service.
- Krylo Airlines operated 2 Il-76TD into 2005.
- Magadan Avia Leasing is a lease and charter operator of the Il-76.
- Moscow Airways operated an Il-76TD in the early 1990s.
- Novosibirsk Air Enterprise operated the Il-76, but none is currently in service.
- Pulkovo Aviation Enterprise operated the Il-76, but none is currently in service.
- Samara Airlines operates 2 Il-76TD.
- Spair Airlines
- Tesis Aviation Enterprise operates 9 Il-76TD.
- Tyumen Airlines
- Volga-Dnepr operates 12 Il-76TD and 4 Il-76TD-90VD.
- Sierra Leone
- Aerolift Sierra Leone operates Il-76 aircraft for special charter and cargo lift operations.
- Soviet Union
- The Soviet Air Force operated hundreds of the aircraft, with an inventory of 310 in 1987. Most were dispersed to the successor states upon the breakup of the Soviet Union.
- Aeroflot was the main civil user of the aircraft during the period of the Soviet Union, although many of its aircraft were operated on behalf of the military.
- Jet Air Cargo was one of the first civil operators of the Il-76 in Russia other than Aeroflot.
- Air West operated a small number of aircraft, although it is unclear how many remain in service.
- Azza Transport operates 2 Il-76TD.
- East West Cargo operated a number of Il-76 aircraft.
- Juba Cargo operates the Il-76
- Badr Airlines operates 1 Il-76,
- Trans Attico
- Alfa Airlines
- United States
- Air Support Systems, LLC operates the Il-76/78 in fire fighting duties in the USA.
- United Arab Emirates
- Gulf Aviation Technology and Services operates a number of Il-76 aircraft on charter or lease.
- Phoenix Aviation operates 2 Il-76TD.
Incidents and accidents
- On 11 December 1988, An Aeroflot Il-76 crashed on approach to Leninakan, Armenia killing all 78 on board. The aircraft was on an air relief operation following the 1988 Spitak earthquake.
- On August 3, 1995 a Il-76 piloted by a Russian crew was forced down by Taliban fighter plane sparking The Aerostan incident
- On 19 August 1996, Il-76T Spair Airlines Flight PAR-3601, crashed and exploded while trying to land at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport killing 12 crew members
- On 12 November 1996, Kazakhstan Airlines Flight 1907, an Il-76 had a mid-air collision near New Delhi, India with a Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 747, resulting in the loss of all 349 lives aboard both aircraft. The accident was ruled as pilot error, with the Il-76 aircraft failing to follow air-traffic controller instructions.
- On 2 December 2001, Armed Forces of the Russian Federation Flight 9064 crashed at Novaya Inya, Russia, following an on board fire, killing 18 on board.
- On 19 February 2003, an Ilyushin Il-76 crashed near Kerman, Iran under unspecified reasons (possibly weather-related). The crash killed 302 people, including hundreds of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
- On 8 May 2003, the rear loading ramp of an Il-76 leased by the Congolese government unexpectedly opened at 10,000 feet, causing over 120 policemen and their families to be sucked out 45 minutes after taking off from the capital Kinshasa.
- On 11 November 2005, A Royal Airlines Cargo Il-76MD, s/n 0053464926, crashed into a hill 30 km NW of Kabul, Afghanistan.
- On 9 March 2007, a Transaviaexport Il-76TD s/n 1003499991, registered EW-78826, on approach at Mogadishu, Somalia, was hit by a projectile, later confirmed as an RPG by Belarus officials. The aircraft landed safely but sustained substantial damage.
- On 23 March 2007, a Transaviaexport Il-76 was shot down by an anti-aircraft missile while taking off from Mogadishu, Somalia.
- On 30 June 2008, an Ilyushin Il-76 exploded into a fireball on take-off from Khartoum International Airport in Sudan. All four crew were killed.
- On 15 January 2009, two Il-76s collided and caught fire in Uytash Airport, Makhachkala, Russia.
- On 9 March 2009 Aerolift Il-76 S9-SAB crashed into Lake Victoria just after takeoff from Entebbe Airport, Uganda, killing all 11 people on board. Two of the engines had caught fire on take-off. The aircraft was chartered by Dynacorp on behalf of AMISOM. The accident was investigated by Uganda's Ministry of Transport, which concluded that all four engines were time-expired and that Aerolift's claim that maintenance had been performed to extend their service lives and the certification of this work could not be substantiated.
- On 27 August 2009, Il-76 "T 906" of the Forças Armadas Angolanas aborted its take-off from Quatro de Fevereiro Airport. Luanda, Angola and overran the end of the runway. There were no casualties among the eight crew and 33 passengers.
- On 22 September 2009, Il76-MD "5-8208" of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force crashed near Varamin killing all seven people on board. The crash was the result of a mid air collision with a Northrop F-5E Tiger II.
- On 1 November 2009, Il-76MD (tail number RA-76801) of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs crashed soon after take-off from Mirny Airport in Yakutia killing all 11 people on board. The plane had no cargo, it was a repositioning flight to Irkutsk. The Il-76 banked to the right, its wing hit a pile of mine tailings and it crashed into the ground near an old diamond mine.
- On 28 November 2010 a Sun Way Flight 4412, Il-76 4L-GNI, crashed in a populated area of Karachi, Pakistan, shortly after taking off from Jinnah International Airport. All eight people on board were killed, along with two people on the ground. The aircraft was reported to have been trying to return to Jinnah after suffering an engine fire.
- On 6 July 2011 a Silk Way Il-76, tail number 4K-AZ55, crashed into a mountain in Afghanistan, while on final to Bagram Air Force Base. Eight people on board were initially confirmed as killed, with one unaccounted.
- On 14 August 2012 a Volga-Dnepr Airlines Il-76TD-90VD overran runway 11 while landing at St. John's International Airport in Newfoundland, Canada and came to rest in the grass overrun area. There was minor damage to the aircraft and no injuries to the crew of nine.
Data from Ilyushin, Aviadvigate, Volga-Dnepr Airlines.
- 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.
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Related lists
- ^ 60,000 kg for the IL-76MF/TF
- ^ 92,000 kg (Il-76MD/TD), 104,000 kg (Il-76MF/TF)
- ^ for other models: 170,000 kg (Il-76M/T), 190,000 kg Il-76MD/TD), 210,000 kg (Il-76MF/TF)
- ^ 4,000 km (Il-76M/T), 4,400 km (Il-76MD/TD), 4,200 km (Il-76MF/TF)
- ^ 633.3 kg/m² (Il-76MD/TD)
- ^ 0.282 (Il-76M/T), 0.252 (Il-76MD/TD), 0.228 (Il-76MF/TF)
- ^ a b c d Butowski, Piotr. Iliuszyn Ił-76 powraca. Lotnictwo nr. 9/2004, p. 28-32 (Polish)
- ^ "Ilyushin beriev IL-76 Candid (Gajraj)". Indian-military.org. http://www.indian-military.org/air-force/support/transport-aircraft/205-ilyushin-beriev-il-76-candid-gajraj.html. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
- ^ [Ilyushin Il-76: Russia's Versatile Jet Freighter]
- ^ a b c d e Butowski, Piotr. Rosyjski kontrakt na Ił-76 i Ił-78 dla Chin. Lotnictwo nr. 1/2007, pp. 54-55 (Polish)
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- ^ A-60 brief description
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- ^ Il-476
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- ^ Il-476
- ^ Aviation and Aerospace
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- Eden, Paul, ed. The Encyclopedia of Modern Military Aircraft. London, UK: Amber Books, 2004. ISBN 1-904687-84-9.