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Ilyushin Il-76MD

Il-76TD-90VD of Volga-Dnepr in 2011
Role Strategic airlifter
National origin Soviet Union / Russia
Manufacturer Ilyushin / Tashkent Aviation Production Association
First flight 25 March 1971
Introduction June 1974[1]
Status In production, in service
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 four-engine strategic airlifter designed by the Ilyushin design bureau. It was first planned as a commercial freighter in 1967, as a replacement for the Antonov An-12, the Il-76. It 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 also been used as emergency response transport for civilian evacuations as well as for humanitarian/disaster relief aid around the world. Because of its ability to operate from unpaved runways, it has been useful to undeveloped areas. 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 1971 (1971-03).[4]

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.[5] 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 in Russia 34 new Il-76MDs and 4 Il-78 tankers, and the factory in Tashkent produced 16 incomplete airframes.

Production of the Il-476 at a new production line at the Aviastar factory in Ulyanovsk, Russia, in cooperation with the Tashkent works, is under consideration.[5] The construction of two prototype Il-476s has begun at the Ulyanovk facility.[6] In June 2013, Russian military export agency Rosoboronexport announced an order by China for 12 Il-76MD aircraft.[7]

Modified versions

The Il-76 has also been modified into an airborne refueller, otherwise known as a tanker aircraft (Il-78, some 50 were made[5]), and a waterbomber. Its airframe was used as a base for the Beriev A-50 'Mainstay' AEW&C (airborne early warning and control) aircraft (some 25 were made[5]). Still more applications have been found in Antarctic support flights and simulated weightlessness training for cosmonauts.[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]

Operational history

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 Aeroflot.

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.[10] In 2006, the Russian Air Force had about 200 Il-76s. Civilian users in Russia have 108.[5]

In 2004, a Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) 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.[11]

Syrian Air Force Il-76s, operating as civil Syrianair aircraft have been reportedly used to ship weapons, money and other cargo from Russia and Iran to Syria, according to a defected Syrian military pilot. Since the start of the rebellion, in April 2011 (and up to July 2012), around 20 military flights have been conducted to and from Tehran, via Iraqi airspace. Further information exposes that since around 2012, Syrian Il-76s have regularly flown to Moscow's Vnukovo Airport to fetch shipments of Syrian banknotes that have been useful to Bashar al-Assad's regime to survive international sanctions.[12][13][14]


Prototypes and developmental variants

  • 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")[15] - (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

  • 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 weight of 210 tonnes and a lift capability of 60 tonnes. First flew in 1995, not built in series so far,[1] just built for Jordan.
  • Il-76PP: ECM aircraft, major problems with ECM equipment on the Izdeliye-176 only.
  • Il-76MDM: modernized Il-76MD for the Russian Air Force.
  • Il-76MD-90A (also known as Il-476 while in development): An updated version with a new glass cockpit, updated avionics and Aviadvigatel PS-90 engines.[16][17]
  • 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').
  • Il-84: Maritime Search and Rescue aircraft, (alternative designation - Il-76PS-poiskovo-spasahtel'nyy), not produced.
  • 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: ('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-76MD-90A (also known as Il-476 while in development): An updated version with a new glass cockpit, updated avionics and Aviadvigatel PS-90 engines.[16][17]

Foreign variants

  • A-50E/I Phalcon: For the Indian Air Force. Hosts Israeli Phalcon radar for AEW&C and Aviadvigatel PS-90 engines.[18]
  • Il-76MD tanker: Iraqi Air Force tanker conversions.
  • KJ-2000: Domestic Chinese airborne early warning and control 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.[19] 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.[20] 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.


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.

  • The Algerian Air Force operates 18 Il-76 aircraft, including 3 Il-76MD, 9 Il-76TD, and 6 Il-78 Midas.
  • The Angolan Air Force operated one Il-76 which crashed on 27/08/09 near 4 de Fevereiro Internacional Airport
  • Gira Globo operates 1 Il-76.
 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 has operated the Il-76TD.
  • Atlant Hungary has operated the Il-76.
  • Hungarian Ukrainian Air Cargo has operated the Il-76
  • The Indian Air Force current fixed-wing transport fleet comprises 24 Il-76s and more than 100 AN-32s.[23] 17 Il-76MD, 6 Il-78MKI aircraft and 2 A-50 with Israeli Phalcon radars for AEW&C.[24] 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.
  • 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.
  • 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[27]
  • Tiramavia
 North Korea
 Sierra Leone
  • Aerolift Sierra Leone operates Il-76 aircraft for special charter and cargo lift operations.[31]
 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[32]
  • [2]
  • Trans Attico
  • Alfa Airlines
  • Green Flag Airlines
  • 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.
  • 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 Nations
 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 23 November 1979, a Soviet Air Force Il-76, registration CCCP-86714, banked left during an approach to Vitebsk Airport. Control of the aircraft was lost and the aircraft crashed, killing a crew of seven.[33]
  • 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.[34]
  • 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, an Il-76T crashed while trying to land at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport, killing all 14 occupants on board.[35]
  • 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 27 November 1996, a Russian Air Force Ilyushin Il-76MD, registration RA-78804, flew into the hillside of a mountain minutes after it departed Abakan Airport, and crashed 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) off the airport. All 21 occupants on board lost their lives in the accident.[36][37]
  • On 13 July 1998, an ATI Aircompany Il-76MD, registration UR-76424, crashed in the Persian Gulf shortly after departing Ra'sal-Khaymah Airport bound for Nikolaev Airport. The crew of eight perished in the accident.[38][39]
  • 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 275 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 after taking off from the capital Kinshasa. Initial reports were that over 120 policemen and their families to be sucked out 45 minutes.[40] but actual losses were only 14.[41]
  • 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. Everybody on board, 7 crew and 4 passengers, was killed.[42]
  • 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.[43]
  • On 15 January 2009, two Russian Ministry of Interior Il-76MDs were involved in a ground collision at Makhachkala Airport. One of the aircraft, registration RA-76825, was ready to depart and was positioned at the runway end when the other one, RA-76827, came into land. The wing of the landing aircraft struck the flight deck of RA-76825 and a fire erupted. There were three fatalities in the departing aircraft, out of seven occupants on board. None of the 31 occupants aboard RA-76827 were hurt. RA-76825 was written off as a consequence of the accident.[44][45]
  • 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.[46]
  • 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.[47]
  • 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.[48] The crash was the result of a mid air collision with a Northrop F-5E Tiger II.[49]
  • 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.[50][51]
  • 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.[52]
  • 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.[53][54]
  • 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.[55]
  • On 30 November 2012 an Aéro-Service[21] Il-76T (note that the reported operator of the aircraft jumped back and forth between Aéro-Service and Trans Air Congo in the days after the accident[56]) crashed 850 meters short of runway 5L of the Congo's Maya-Maya Airport in Brazzaville while landing during a violent storm, killing 32, including the 5 aircrew, another person on board and 26 people on the ground.[57]

Preserved Aircraft

  • UR-UCI (cn 083414444) Preserved at State Museum of Aviation, Kiev-Zhulyany.

Specifications (Il-76TD-90)

Data from Ilyushin,[58] Aviadvigate,[59] Volga-Dnepr Airlines.[60]

General characteristics
  • Crew: 5
  • Capacity: 50,000 kg (Il-76)[nb 1]
  • Payload: 42 tonnes (Il-76M), 48 tonnes(Il-76MD), 60 tonnes(Il-76MD-90A) ()
  • 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: 92,500 kg (Il-76TD-90)[nb 2] (203,962 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 195,000 kg (Il-76)[nb 3] (429,975 lb (Il-76TD-90))
  • Powerplant: 4 × Aviadvigatel PS-90-76 turbofans, 142 kN (32,000 lbf)  or 14,500 kgf[61] 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.

See also

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists



External links

  • Il-76TF pages on Ilyushin's web site
  • Ilyushin beriev Il-76 Candid(Gajraj) at indian military database
  • The Ilyushin Il-76 and its variants on
  • Training aircraft at Yuri Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Center.
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