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Atlant-Soyuz Il-76 at Baghdad International Airport
Role Strategic airlifter
Manufacturer Tashkent Aviation Production Association
Designed by Ilyushin
First flight March 25, 1971
Introduced June 1974[1]
Status Operational
Primary users Russian Air Force
Ukrainian Air Force
Indian Air Force[2]
TransAVIAexport Airlines
Number built 960[3]
Variants Ilyushin Il-78
Beriev A-50

The Ilyushin Il-76 (NATO reporting name: Candid) is a multi-purpose 4-engined strategic airlifter that 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 Russia. Military versions of the Il-76 have seen widespread use in Europe, Asia and Africa, including use as an airborne refueling tanker.

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, and it is also used for zero-G training.


Design and development

An Il-78 leads an aerial formation during the Victory Day parade over Moscow, Russia.

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.[4] In the 1990s, modernized variants were developed (MF, TF), with a cargo compartment sized 20 m (length) x 3.4 m (width) x 3.4 m (height), 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 in Russia 34 new Il-76MDs and 4 Il-78 tankers, and the factory in Tashkent produced 16 incomplete airframes. Production of the Il-76 at a new factory in Ulyanovsk in Russia, in cooperation with the Tashkent works, is under consideration.[4]

Operational history

Ilyushin Il-76MD of Iraqi Airways at Basle in 1984
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.[5] Building on that experience, the bulk of the Canadian Forces equipment into Afghanistan is flown in using civilian Il-76[6]. As of 2006, the Russian Air Force had some 200 Il-76s, less than half of which were airworthy. Civilian users in Russia have 108.[4]

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.[7][8] 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.[9]


1988 Maldives Coup

Also known as the Operation Cactus, on November 3, 1988, the Indian Air Force paratroopers were flown to the islands of Maldives in Il-76MD to foil an attempt to overthrow the government on the Republic Of Maldives after help was requested by the government of Maldives to India.[10]

Hurricane Katrina

The Russian Federation offered humanitarian aid to the United States following Hurricane Katrina hitting New Orleans.[11][12] Two EMERCOM Il-76 aircraft landed at a disaster aid staging area at Little Rock, Arkansas on September 8.[13] This marks the first time Russia has flown such a mission to North America.

India also used an Il-76 to deliver aid on September 13, 2005 for Katrina victims.[14]

In October 2009 it was reported that the Russian Government had offered the Australian Government the use of two Il-76 water bombers to help put out the Black Saturday bushfires. However, Victoria's Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) declined the offer due to the aircraft not being suited for the conditions in Victoria and approval from aviation authorities could not be obtained in time.[15]


Prototypes and developmental variants

Il-76TD, one of the first variants, at Zurich Airport.
Indian air force pilots walk away from their IL-76 medium cargo jet after landing at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.
  • Izdeliye-176 - prototype Il-76PP.
  • Izdeliye-576 -
  • 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)[2] - (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)

Military variants

An Il-76 in-service with the Indian Air Force
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 trainer "Vomit Comet" ((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 silenced and more economical Aviadvigatel PS-90 engines.
  • Il-76MF - Stretched military version with 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.[1]
  • Il-76PP - ECM aircraft, major problems with ECM equipment, 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.
  • Il-476[16][17]

Civil variants

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.
  • 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

Il-76 Phalcon

For the Indian Air Force. Hosts Phalcon radar for AWACS and Aviadvigatel PS-90 engines[18].

Il-76MD tanker

Iraqi Air Force tanker conversions.


Domestic Chinese AWACS conversion of Il-76, developed after A-50I was cancelled and currently in service with the armed forces of China. Equipped with an active phased array (AESA) radar designed by China's Research Institute of Electronic Technology and arranged in the same way as that of A-50I.

CFTE Engine Testbed

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.


Iraqi development with a radar mounted in the cargo hold, used in the Iran - Iraq war.


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.[19][20] 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.


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 bold.

 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.
 Equatorial Guinea
  • Ecuatorial Cargo operates 1 Il-76TD.[25]
  • Express International Cargo
  • Atlant Hungary has operated the Il-76.[26]
  • Hungarian Ukrainian Air Cargo has operated the Il-76[27]
  • The Indian Air Force current fixed-wing transport fleet comprises 24 IL-76 and more than 100 AN-32s.[28] 17 Il-76MD, 6 Il-78MKI aircraft and 1 A-50 with Israeli Phalcon radars for AWACS.[29]. Mostly for transporting ration in high altitude regions in Jammu and Kashmir and Siachen region
 Laos – Lao People's Democratic Republic
  • Imtrec aviation of Cambodia operates Laos registered Il-76TD.[34]
  • Inversija operates 3, including 2 Il-76T and 1 Il-76TD.
  • The Libyan Air Force has operated the Il-76 although it may not remain in service.
  • Jamahiria Air Transport operates the Il-76M, Il-76TD, and Il-78.[35]
  • Libyan Air Cargo, the cargo division of Libyan Arab Airlines, operates 21, including 1 Il-76M and 15 Il-76TD.
  • Transafrica Airlines
  • 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[36]
  • Tiramavia
 North Korea
 Sierra Leone
  • Aerolift Sierra Leone operates Il-76 aircraft for special charter and cargo lift operations.[40]
 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.[41]
  • 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[42]
  • Badr Airlines operates 1 Il-76,}[3]
  • Trans Attico
  • The Ukrainian Air Force inherited a large number of Il-76 aircraft from the Soviet Air Force, with as many as 100 remaining in service.
  • Air Service Ukraine operated the Il-76MD.
  • Air Ukraine and Air Ukraine Cargo operated the aircraft, although none were in service at the time of bankruptcy.
  • ATI Aircompany operates a number of Il-76 models.
  • Azov Avia Airlines operates 2 Il-76MD.
  • BSL Airline operated as many as 6 Il-78.[43]
  • Busol Airlines operated the Il-76 before its closure in 1998.
  • Khors Aircompany operates 2 Il-76MD.
  • Lviv Airlines operates 3 Il-76MD.
  • South Airlines is a former operator.
  • Ukraine Air Alliance operates 4, including 1 Il-76MD and 3 Il-76TD.
  • Ukrainian Cargo Airways operates 21, including 19 Il-76MD.
  • Veteran Airlines
  • Volare Airlines operates 3, including 2 Il-76MD and 1 Il-76TD.
  • Yuzhmashavia operates 2 Il-76TD.
 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.
  • Avient Aviation operates 1 Il-76T on Antarctic support missions based in Argentina.

Incidents and accidents

Specifications (Il-76D)

Data from [2]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 5–7
  • Capacity: 40,000 kg (Il-76)[nb 1]
  • 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)[nb 2] (159,000 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 157,000 kg (Il-76)[nb 3] (346,000 lb (Il-76))
  • Powerplant:Soloviev D-30KP turbofans, 118 kN (26,500 lbf) each



  • 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.


  1. ^ 48,000 kg for the Il-76M/T, 50,000 kg for the Il-76MD/TD and 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)

See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft

Related lists


  1. ^ a b c d Butowski, Piotr. Iliuszyn Ił-76 powraca. Lotnictwo nr. 9/2004, p. 28-32 (Polish)
  2. ^ a b Ilyushin beriev IL-76 Candid(Gajraj) at indian military database
  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, p. 54-55 (Polish)
  5. ^ [Ilyushin Il-76 Russia's Versatile Airlifter]
  6. ^ Canadian Parliament Website
  7. ^ "Ilyushin Il-76 transport". Virtual Aircraft Museum. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  8. ^ "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. 
  9. ^ A-60 brief desription
  10. ^ Maldives airlift
  11. ^ U.S. to acknowledge Russia's offer of hurricane assistance
  12. ^ Russia to send humanitarian aid to U.S. Tuesday
  13. ^ Russia delivers over 17 tons of medicines to Katrina victims
  14. ^ IAF crew on arrival at Boston Logan International Airport., September 13, 2005.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Il-476
  18. ^ Aviation and Aerospace
  19. ^
  20. ^ AWACS and Hawkeyes - The Complete History of Airborne Early Warning
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Ilyushin Il-76 D2-FEM",
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Air Congo Ilyushin Il-76",
  25. ^ "Ecuatorial Cargo Ilyushin Il-76TD",
  26. ^ "Atlant-Hungary Ilyushin Il-76TD",
  27. ^ "HUK - Hungarian Ukrainian Air Cargo Ilyushin Il-76TD",
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Atlas Air Ilyushin Il-76TD",
  31. ^ "Chabahar Air Ilyushin Il-76TD",
  32. ^ "Lease", Air Almaty
  33. ^ "GST Aero Ilyushin Il-76T",
  34. ^
  35. ^ "Jamahiria Air Transport Ilyushin Il-76/78",
  36. ^ Jet Line
  37. ^ "Air STAN Ilyushin Il-76",
  38. ^ "Moscow Airways Ilyushin Il-76",
  39. ^
  40. ^ "Ilyushin 76", Aerolift
  41. ^ "Jet Air Cargo Ilyushin Il-76TD",
  42. ^ JUBA Cargo
  43. ^ "BSL Airline Ilyushin Il-78",
  44. ^ [1]
  45. ^ a b Hassan, Mohamed Olad. (2007-03-27). "Cargo Plane Shot Down in Somalia". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  46. ^ Cargo plane explodes in Khartoum, killing 4 crew | World | Reuters
  47. ^ "RECENT ACCIDENTS / INCIDENTS WORLDWIDE". JACDEC. Retrieved 28 August 2009. 
  48. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 23 September 2009. 
  49. ^ "Iranian Military Planes Crashes in Annual Parade". Defensenews. Retrieved 23 September 2009. 
  50. ^
  51. ^ Berry, Lynn for Associated Press. "Russian military cargo plane crashes on takeoff, killing all 11 crew members on board"., 1 November 2009.

External links


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