Basically, the IL-76 possesses the characteristic design of the Soviet cold war aircraft.

It may not be the prettiest plane, but very practical, 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.

Wings are high-mounted across the top of the fuselage, swept aft and clipped at the tips, and noted by their bulged center portion atop the aircraft. Beneath the wings are the engines, two on each side. The empennage was dominated by the single large-area vertical tail fin to which a “T” style wing arrangement was applied. The horizontal planes were mounted at the extreme top of the vertical tail, completing the IL-76’s unique look. Loading and unloading of cargo is done through the rear ramp of the aircraft, with two vertical doors hinged along the outside edges.

The popular version of the family is the IL-76TD, which is powered by four Soloviev D-30KP turbofans, with 117.7 kN thrust each. It can reach a top speed of 900 km/h, with a range of 4,000 km, and a service ceiling of 13,000 meters.

IL-76 did not have time for the Vietnam War, but it was to a large extent its product. But after Vietnam, he did not miss a single more or less noticeable military conflict – not in the territory of his native country, nor in many countries outside of its borders. 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.

Since its inception in the mid-1970s to the present, the IL-76 is the main military transport aircraft of the Soviet Union and Russia, and continues to be modernized. There are also many other operators around the world, including the United States, China, India, several Middle Eastern and African countries, and even the North Korean Air Force currently operates three IL-76s. The IL-76 will probably remain for them for quite a long time, given the machine’s modernization potential, which becomes so valuable to countries with limited financial resources.


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