Ilyushin Il-76

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Il-76TD-90VD of Volga-Dnepr in 2011
RoleStrategic airlifter
National originSoviet Union / Russia
ManufacturerIlyushin / Tashkent Aviation Production Association
First flight25 March 1971
IntroductionJune 1974[1]
StatusIn production, in service
Primary usersRussian Air Force
Ukrainian Air Force
Indian Air Force[2]
TransAVIAexport Airlines
Number built960[3]
VariantsIlyushin Il-78
Beriev A-50
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Il-76TD-90VD of Volga-Dnepr in 2011
RoleStrategic airlifter
National originSoviet Union / Russia
ManufacturerIlyushin / Tashkent Aviation Production Association
First flight25 March 1971
IntroductionJune 1974[1]
StatusIn production, in service
Primary usersRussian Air Force
Ukrainian Air Force
Indian Air Force[2]
TransAVIAexport Airlines
Number built960[3]
VariantsIlyushin Il-78
Beriev A-50

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.[citation needed]

Il-76 of the Indian Air Force lands in Leh, Ladakh.

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.[4] 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.[1] In 2005, China ordered[clarification needed] 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.[5]

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.[4] The construction of two prototype IL-476s has begun at the Ulyanovk facility.[6][7][8][9]

Operational history

USAF and IAF airmen work inside the cockpit of an Indian Il-76.

First aircraft were delivered to the Soviet Air Force in June 1974.[1] 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.[10] 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.[11] In 2006, the Russian Air Force had about 200 Il-76s. Civilian users in Russia have 108.[4]

Il-76s sitting on the ramp at the Tripoli Airport were bombed by USAF F-111s during Operation El Dorado Canyon in April 1986.[12]

The Il-76 is also in use as an airborne tanker, otherwise known as a refueller (Il-78, some 50 were made[4]), and a waterbomber. Its airframe was used as a base for the Beriev A-50 'Mainstay' AWACS aircraft (some 25 were made[4]). Still more applications have been found in Antarctic support flights and simulated weightlessness training for cosmonauts.[13] 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.[14]


Prototypes and developmental variants

Il-76TD, one of the first variants, at Zurich Airport.

Military variants

An Il-78MKI in-service with the Indian Air Force

Civil variants

A commercial variant of Ilyushin Il-76 loading cargo at Ali Base in Iraq.

Foreign variants

The A-50E/I Mainstay of the Indian Air Force.


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
 Burkina Faso
 Democratic Republic of the Congo
 Republic of the Congo
 Equatorial Guinea
Indian air force pilots walk away from their IL-76 medium cargo jet after landing at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.
Ilyushin Il-76MD of Iraqi Airways at Basle in 1984.
Air Almaty Il-76T
 North Korea
 Sierra Leone
 Soviet Union
 United States
 United Arab Emirates

Incidents and accidents

Specifications (Il-76TD-90)

Il-76TD glass nose
Il-76MD cargo cabin

Data from Ilyushin,[62] Aviadvigate,[63] Volga-Dnepr Airlines.[64]

General characteristics



See also

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. ^ 60,000 kg for the IL-76MF/TF
  2. ^ 92,000 kg (Il-76MD/TD), 104,000 kg (Il-76MF/TF)
  3. ^ for other models: 170,000 kg (Il-76M/T), 190,000 kg Il-76MD/TD), 210,000 kg (Il-76MF/TF)
  4. ^ 4,000 km (Il-76M/T), 4,400 km (Il-76MD/TD), 4,200 km (Il-76MF/TF)
  5. ^ 633.3 kg/m² (Il-76MD/TD)
  6. ^ 0.282 (Il-76M/T), 0.252 (Il-76MD/TD), 0.228 (Il-76MF/TF)


  1. ^ a b c d Butowski, Piotr. Iliuszyn Ił-76 powraca. Lotnictwo nr. 9/2004, p. 28-32 (Polish)
  2. ^ "Ilyushin beriev IL-76 Candid (Gajraj)". Retrieved 7 July 2011. 
  3. ^ [Ilyushin Il-76: Russia's Versatile Jet Freighter]
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ "IL-76s' mission in PLAAF, China". Retrieved 2011-09-06. 
  6. ^ "Поставки транспортников Ил-476 заказчикам начнутся в 2012 году - ВПК.name". Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  7. ^ "photo №14554 || Ilushin Il-476 || (c) Dmitry Kanunnikov". Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  8. ^ "photo №14553 || Ilushin Il-476 || (c) Dmitry Kanunnikov". Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  9. ^ "photo №19388 || Ilushin Il-476 || (c) Dmitry Kanunnikov". Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  10. ^ Ilyushin Il-76 Russia's Versatile Airlifter
  11. ^ Canadian Parliament Website[dead link]
  12. ^ "Operation El Dorado Canyon". Retrieved 28 July 2010. 
  13. ^ "File:Марка России 2006г №1073-Самолет ИЛ-76ТД и научно-экспедиционное судно "Академик Федоров"; панорама станции.jpg". Stamps of Russia. Publishing and Trading Centre "Marka". 2006-01-26.Марка_России_2006г_№1073-Самолет_ИЛ-76ТД_и_научно-экспедиционное_судно_%22Академик_Федоров%22;_панорама_станции.jpg. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  14. ^ A-60 brief description
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  17. ^ Il-476
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  19. ^ Il-476
  20. ^ Aviation and Aerospace
  21. ^ AWACS and Hawkeyes - The Complete History of Airborne Early Warning
  22. ^ YouTube - ‪IRIAF IL-76MD "Simorgh" (Phoenix) AWACS Crash (Sep 22, 2009)‬‏
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  29. ^ "HUK - Hungarian Ukrainian Air Cargo Ilyushin Il-76TD",
  30. ^ "India Seeks To Bolster Transport With 10 C-17s". Defense News. 2009-11-05. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  31. ^ "Indian Air Force :: Aircraft Fleet Strength". 2009-10-19. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  32. ^ "Atlas Air Ilyushin Il-76TD",
  33. ^ "Chabahar Air Ilyushin Il-76TD",
  34. ^ Jordan International Air Cargo
  35. ^ "Lease", Air Almaty
  36. ^ "GST Aero Ilyushin Il-76T",
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  38. ^ "Jamahiria Air Transport Ilyushin Il-76/78",
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  50. ^ Astill, James (10 May 2003). "At 10,000 feet the door flipped open and scores of passengers were sucked out". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 5 May 2010. 
  51. ^ Hassan, Mohamed Olad (2007-03-27). "Cargo Plane Shot Down in Somalia". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  52. ^ "Cargo plane explodes in Khartoum, killing 4 crew". Reuters. 30 June 2008. 
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  54. ^ "RECENT ACCIDENTS / INCIDENTS WORLDWIDE". JACDEC. Retrieved 28 August 2009. 
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  56. ^ "Iranian Military Planes Crashes in Annual Parade". Defensenews. Retrieved 23 September 2009. 
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  61. ^ Canadian Transportation Safety Board - Aviation investigation A12A0082
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  63. ^ "PS-90A-76 Aircraft Engine." Aviadvigate.
  64. ^ "IL-76TD-90VD." Volga-Dnepr Airlines.

External links