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Story Transcript

Ilyushin IL·7& Russia's Versatile Airlifter

Dmitriy Komissarov and Yefim Gordon


Ilyushin IL·76 Russia's Versatile Airlifter

Dmitriy Komissarov and Yefim Gordon


Ilyushin IL-76: Russia's Versatile Airlifter © 2001 Dmitiry Komissarov and Yefim Gordon ISBN 1 85780 106 7




\ Chapters 1

Published by Midland Publishing 4 Watling Drive, Hinckley, LE10 3EY, England Tel: 01455 254 490 Fax: 01455254495 E-mail: [email protected] Midland Publishing is an imprint of Ian Allan Publishing Ltd Worldwide distribution (except North America): Midland Counties Publications 4 Watling Drive, Hinckley, LE10 3EY, England Telephone: 01455 254 450 Fax: 01455 233 737 E-mail: [email protected] North American trade distribution: Specialty Press Publishers & Wholesalers Inc. 11605 Kost Dam Road, North Branch, MN 55056 Tel: 651 5833239 Fax: 651 5832023 Toll free telephone: 8008954585

Title page: This view of the IL-76MF prototype emphasises the large diameter of the new engine nacelles. Yefim Gordon Below: An apron shot of A-50s; apparently this variant of the IL-76 took a lot of punishment in operational conditions; the very battered rotodomes are noteworthy. Yefim Gordon

Design concept and layout © 2001 Midland Publishing and Stephen Thompson Associates Printed in England by Ian Allan Printing Ltd Riverdene Business Park, Molesey Road, Hersham, Surrey, KT12 4RG All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or photo-copied, recorded or otherwise, without the written permission of the publishers.

A New Machine



A First Flight from Downtown






In Action



The Candid 'At Home' (CIS IL-76 Operators)



... and Abroad (IL-76 Operators outside the CIS) .. 108


Beneath the Skin


Appendices 1

Production List



Accident Attrition



Records Galore


Cutaway and Drawings


End notes


Soviet and Russian aviation always attracted considerable interest in the West. Whilst combat aircraft always attracted the limelight, many transport aircraft also deserve close attention, both because of their considerable capabilities and notable design features and because they have seen no less action than some fighters or strike aircraft. One such aircraft is the now familiar and ubiquitous Ilyushin IL-76. This was the Soviet Union's first jet transport to be designed from scratch, the first to enter production - and the most prolific, with some 930 built to date and production still continuing. Originally dismissed as a 'Starlifter clone', it has earned worldwide recognition as a competent freighter. It has made its mark in such noteworthy conflicts as Afghanistan and Chechnya and found a stable niche on the civil air transport market. Carrying cargo was one of the principal tasks of aviation from the outset. Yet specialised transport aircraft took some time coming. In the early days of aviation aircraft had to be jacks of

The Antonov An-8 was the Soviet Air Force's first tactical airlifter designed with modern requirements in mind (soft-field capability, rear loading door etc). Though produced in extremely small numbers (a mere 150 were built for the VVS), the Camp is still around, serving with the more obscure operators in the Middle East and Africa. Yefim Gordon


Ilyushin IL-76

all trades, and freight and mail was often carried by converted airliners - an idea which evolved into the quick-change concept - and even 'demilitarised' bombers withdrawn from active duty. The Soviet Union was no exception; for instance, the Polar Aviation Directorate used Tupolev TB-3 (ANT-6) bombers in the 1930s and briefly operated converted Tupolev Tu-4 bombers (reverse-engineered Boeing B-29 Superfortress, NATO code name Bull) in the late 1950s. The Second World War demonstrated the efficiency of airborne assault during offensive operations, which is why increasing importance was attached to airborne troops after the war both sides of the newly-erected Iron Curtain. In the Soviet Union the airborne troops (VDV - vozdooshno-desahntnyye voyskah) became an independent arm of the armed forces in 1946. In the same year the assault transport branch was created within the framework of the Soviet Air Force (WS - voyennovozdooshnyye seely); this was eventually reorganised into the military transport aviation (VTA - voyenno-trahnsportnaya aviahtsiya) , the Soviet equivalent to the USAF's Military Airlift Command. It soon became obvious that new transport aircraft capable of carrying more troops and/or heavy military equipment were required to bolster the combat potential of the VDV and VTA. Hence in 1947 the Soviet government launched a major new hardware development

programme for the VDV. The Ministry of Aircraft Industry (MAP - Ministerstvo aviatseeonnoy promyshlennosti) was responsible for transport aircraft with paradrop capability and assault gliders. The general operational requirement (GOR) called for aircraft capable of transporting 30 to 60 fully equipped troops and vehicles such as self-propelled howitzers. Three renowned Soviet aircraft design bureaux led by Andrey Nikolayevich Tupolev (OKB-156), Sergey Vladimirovich Ilyushin (OKB240) and Aleksandr Sergeyevich Yakovlev (OKB-115)' were tasked with developing transport aircraft, even though they had other equally important military programmes to work on. The Tupolev OKB (opytno-konstrooktorskoye byuro - experimental design bureau) came up with the TU-75, a four-engined freighter with rear loading ramp based on the Tu-70 Cart experimental airliner, itself a spinoff of the Tu-4. The Tu-75 had a 10-ton (22,045Ib) payload and performed well but did not enter production. Ilyushin produced a 4-ton (8,818Ib) tactical airlift, troopship and glider towing version of the IL-12 Coach airliner developed in 1943-46 as a DC-3 replacement. This aircraft, the IL-12D (for desahntnyy - paratroop), fared better, making up the backbone of the VTA until the late 1950s together with its derivative IL-14T Crate. Assault gliders were then considered the only means of delivering heavy vehicles to the landing zone, since most transport aircraft of the time had side loading which precluded the

Ilyushin IL-76


paradropping of bulky items. Thus the OKBs led by Ilyushin, Yakovlev and Pyotr V Tsybin developed the IL-32, Yak-14 Mare and Ts-30 respectively. Of these only the Yak-14 entered production, complementing the earlier Ts-25 Mist. Operational experience with these aircraft, however, showed that dedicated airlifters and paradropping systems were the way to go (though this was found out by trial and error, as will be evident). From the mid-50s onwards Soviet design bureaux started working in that direction. In 1956 the young OKB led by Oleg Konstantinovich Antonov produced the An-8 Camp twin-turboprop tactical transport. This was followed three years later by the broadly similar four-turboprop An-12 Cub - a Lockheed C-130 look-alike which, though derived from the An-l 0 Ookraina (The Ukraine)/Cat airliner, had all the features a modern military freighter should have, including a rear loading door and the ability to operate from semi-prepared tactical airstrips. The An-12 turned out to be a successful aircraft, and though production ended in 1972 it still soldiers on with the WS and some other air forces, as well as civil operators, as of this writing. Yet as early as 17th June 1955 Soviet civil aviation entered the jet age with the Tu-l04 Camel twinjet medium-range airliner. Compared to this, the Antonov turboprops seemed slow and the military started clamouring for a jet transport aircraft. MAP chimed in, too. As Pyotr V Dement'yev (then Minister of Aircraft Industry) put it in a conversation with one of Ilyushin's aides, 'I've had enough of those windmills (as he disparagingly called propellerdriven aircraft - Author). They're history. The military airlift command needs fast aircraft as much as everybody else. What we need is an aircraft combining the design culture of a (state -of-the-art jet) airliner and the qualities of a mil-

itary airlifter - reliability, ease of operation and maintenance, self-contained operation and the ability to use dirt strips. In a nutshell, a real workhorse. I think your OKB can do it.' Tupolev were the first to react: the Tu-l07 entered flight test in 1957. This was a straightforward derivative of the Tu-l04A with a rear loading ramp and a tail gun barbette with twin 23mm (.90 calibre) Afanas'yev/Makarov AM-23 cannons and PRS-1 2 Argon gun-laying radar. However, the Tu-l07 had two major shortcomings. First, it could only operate from paved airstrips; second, the rather stalky undercarriage precluded straight-in loading from a truck bed. This was because the lowwing Tu-l 04/Tu-l 07 was a spinoff of the midwing Tu-16 Badger bomber. In the end the 'bad news' outweighed the 'good news' and the Tu107 did not progress beyond the prototype stage. Still, the need for an An-12 replacement grew increasingly acute as time passed. The WS needed a jet transport with equally good field performance (including rough-field capability) and the ability to operate independently from ground support equipment but with much higher speed and a bigger payload. So did the sole Soviet airline, Aeroflot, which had to haul heavy equipment to oil and gas fields in Siberia and goods coming in via seaports in the Far East. Enter the Ilyushin IL-76. Dmitriy Komissarov Yefim Gordon January 2001

The An-12 was the mainstay of the Soviet Air Force's transport element until the advent of the IL-76. This particular example based at Kubinka (17 Red, c/n 5342810) was even built at the same factory which later built the Candid. Yelim Gordon

Acknowledgements The authors wish to thank the following persons who assisted in the making of this book: Viktor G Kra...

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