Ilyushin Il-76

The Ilyushin Il-76 (NATO reporting name: Candid) is a multi-purpose four-engine turbofan 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. It was designed for delivering heavy machinery to remote, poorly served 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 in undeveloped areas. Specialized models have also been produced for aerial fire-fighting and zero-G training.

Ilyushin Il-76
Class Aircraft
Type Transport
Manufacturer Ilyushin
Origin Russia (USSR)
Country Name Origin Year
Russia (USSR) 1971
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Algeria View
Angola View
Armenia View
Burkina Faso (Upper Volta) View
Cambodia (Kampuchea) View
China View
Equatorial Guinea View
Georgia View
Hungary View
India View
Iran (Persia) View
Iraq View
Jordan View
Kazakhstan View
Kyrgyzstan View
Laos View
Latvia View
Libya View
Mali View
Moldova View
North Korea View
Russia (USSR) 1974 View
Sierra Leone View
Sudan View
Syria View
Turkmenistan View
Ukraine View
United Arab Emirates View
United States of America View
Uzbekistan View
Yemen View
Yugoslavia (Serbia) View
Azerbaijan View
Bahrain View
Democratic Republic of the Congo View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Ilyushin 960 View


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.

Production of Il-76s was allocated to the Tashkent Aviation Production Association in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, then a republic of the Soviet Union. Some 860 of the basic transport variants were manufactured. 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; these larger variants were not produced in significant quantity due to the financial difficulties being experienced by the Russian Air Force, who was the primary operator of the type. The prototype of the Il-76MF, conducted its first flight on 1 August 1995. All production operations ceased during the late 1990s.

Further development

From 2004 onwards, a number of aircraft in commercial service were modernized to the Il-76TD-90VD version; this involved the adoption of the newly developed PS-90 engine to comply with European noise limitations. In 2005, the Peoples Republic of China placed an order for 34 new Il-76MDs and 4 Il-78 tankers. In June 2013, Russian military export agency Rosoboronexport announced an order by China for 12 Il-76MD aircraft.

In 2010, it was announced that production of a further modernization of the aircraft, the Il-476, was under consideration; a proposed new production line would be located in Aviastar's facility in Ulyanovsk, Russia, and operated in cooperation with the Tashkent works. At that point, construction work upon two prototype Il-476s had begun at the Ulyanovsk facility. On 29 April 2015, it was reported that the Russian Air Force received the first Il-76MD-90A built at the Ulyanovsk plant “Aviastar-SP” from the 2012 contract for 39 aircraft.

The Il-76 has also been modified into an airborne refuelling tanker, designated as the Il-78, around 50 aircraft were produced. A variant of the Il-76 also serves as a fire-fighting waterbomber. Its airframe was used as a base for the Beriev A-50 'Mainstay' AEW&C (airborne early warning and control) aircraft; around 25 aircraft were made. Another application for the type was found in Antarctic support flights and for conducting simulated weightlessness training for cosmonauts. Beriev and NPO Almaz also developed an airborne laser flying laboratory designated A-60, of which two were built, much of this project's details remains classified.


Prototypes and developmental variants

  • Izdeliye-176
  • Izdeliye-576
  • Izdeliye-676
  • Izdeliye-776
  • IZdeliye-976 
  • Izdeliye-1076
  • Izdeliye-1176
  • Il-76TD-90 / Il-76MD-90
  • Il-76 firebomber
  • Il-76PSD
  • Il-96
  • Il-150
  • Beriev A-60

Military variants

  • Il-76TD glass nose
  • Il-76MD cargo cabin
  • Il-76-Tu160 tailplane transporter
  • Il-76D
  • Il-76K/Il-76MDK/Il-76MDK-II
  • Il-76LL
  • Il-76M
  • Il-76MD
  • Il-76MD Skal'pel-MT
  • Il-76M / Il-76MD
  • Il-76MD-90
  • Il-76MF    
  • Il-76PP
  • Il-76MDM
  • Il-76MD-90A
  • Il-76T/Il-76TD
  • Ilyushin Il-78 / Il-78M
  • Il-78 MKI
  • Il-84
  • Beriev A-50/Beriev A-50M/Beriev A-50I/Beriev A-50E
  • Beriev A-100

Civil variants

  • Il-76MGA
  • Il-76MD to Il-76TD conversions
  • Il-76P / Il-76TP / Il-76TDP / Il-76MDP
  • Il-76T
  • Il-76TD
  • Il-76TD-90VD
  • Il-76TD-S
  • Il-76TF

Foreign variants

  • Beriev A-50E/I
  • Il-76MD tanker
  • KJ-2000
  • CFTE engine testbed
  • Baghdad-1
  • Baghdad-2

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

On August 3, 1995, a Il-76 piloted by a Russian crew was forced down by a Taliban fighter plane sparking the Airstan incident.

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.

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, were killed.

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.

On 14 June 2014, a Ukrainian Air Force IL-76 was shot down by ground fire from pro-Russian separatists while on approach to landing at Lugansk, resulting in the deaths of 40 soldiers and 9 crew members on board.

Role Strategic airlifter
National origin Soviet Union / Russia
Manufacturer Ilyushin
Built by 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

General characteristics

  • Crew: 5 to 7
  • Capacity: 40,000 kg (Il-76), 48,000 kg (Il-76M/T), 50,000 kg (Il-76MD/TD), 60,000 kg (Il-76MF/TF)
  • Payload: 45 to 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 m (3,229.2 ft)
  • Empty weight: 72,000 kg (Il-76), 92,000 kg (Il-76MD/TD), 104,000 kg (Il-76MF/TF) (159,000 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 157,000 kg (Il-76), 170,000 kg (Il-76M/T), 190,000 kg IL-76MD/TD), 210,000 kg (Il-76MF/TF) (346,000 lb (Il-76))
  • Powerplant: 4 x Soloviev D-30KP turbofans, 118 kN (26,500 lbf) each


  • Maximum speed: 900 km/h (490 kt, 560 mph, or Mach 0.82-1.17 groundspeed depending on altitude)
  • Range: (with max payload) 3,650 km (Il-76), 4,000 km (Il-76M/T), 4,400 km (Il-76MD/TD), 4,200 km (Il-76MF/TF) (nm, mi)
  • Service ceiling 13,000 m (42,700 ft)
  • Rate of climb: m/s (ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 566.7 kg/m (Il-76M/T), 633.3 kg/m (Il-76MD/TD) (116.05 lb/ft (Il-76M/T), 129.72 lb/ft (Il-76MD/TD))
  • Thrust/weight: 0.305 (Il-76), 0.282 (Il-76M/T), 0.252 (IL-76MD/TD), 0.228 (Il-76MF/TF)


  • Guns: 2 x 23 mm cannon in radar-directed manned turret at base of tail

Some military models have 2 hardpoints under each outer wing capable of supporting 500 kg bombs.

End notes