Ilyushin IL-76

(photo cred: Alexey Reznichenko)

The Ilyushin IL-76

Is a multi-purpose four-engine turbofan strategic airlifter designed by the Soviet Union’s Ilyushin design bureau. It was first planned as a commercial freighter in 1967, as a replacement for the AN-12. It was designed to deliver heavy machinery to remote, poorly served areas. Military versions of the Il-76 have been widely used in Europe, Asia and Africa, including use as an aerial refueling tanker or 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 an emergency response transport for civilian evacuations as well as for humanitarian aid and disaster relief 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 firefighting and zero-G training.

Operational service

The Soviets got their first aircraft in 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 on takeoff or landing.
In 2006, the Russian Air Force had about 200 Il-76s. Civilian users in Russia have 108. In 2004, a Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Il-76 carried out a flight mission in Afghanistan, and later in 2011, PLAAF Il-76s were sent to Libya to evacuate Chinese citizens. The two missions were the reported first steps of PLAAF developing long-range transportation capacity.

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 Luhansk, resulting in the deaths of 40 soldiers and nine crew members on board.
On 30 January 2017, an IL-76 firebomber of the Russian EMERCOM agency was deployed to Chile to assist firefighters. This assignment took 39 days.

Variants of the IL-76

Il-76TD-90 / Il-76MD-90
Engine upgrades to Perm PS-90s.

Il-76 firebomber
Firefighting aircraft to drop exploding capsules filled with fire retardant.

SAR version of Il-76MF

(‘D’ for “Desantnyi”, “Paratrooper transport”) has a gun turret in the tail for defensive purposes.

Zero-g cosmonaut trainer ( dlya podgotovki kosmonavtov ), for Yuri Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Center

Built as military aircraft but given civilian designations. (Gordon – ‘Falsie’)

Ilyushin Il-78/ Il-78M
Aerial refuelling tanker.

Airborne Command Post/communications relay aircraft,

Civil variants

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.

An Il-76TD with Aviadvigatel PS-90 engines and a partial glass cockpit]. It was developed specially for Volga-Dnepr cargo company, which operates four aircraft as of 2012.

Civilian mobile Hospital, similar to Il-76MD Skal’pel-MT.

General characteristics

  • Crew: 5

  • Payload: 42 tonnes (Il-76M), 48 tonnes (Il-76MD), 60 tonnes (Il-76MD-90A) ()

  • Length: 152 ft 10 in

  • Wingspan: 165 ft 8 in

  • Height: 48 ft 5 in

  • Empty weight: 203,962 lb

  • Max. takeoff weight: 429,975 lb

  • Maximum speed: 490 kt,Mach 0.82 depending on altitude

  • Range: 2,700 nmi for (Il-76MD-90A/TD-90VD) with 52 tonne payload; 4,
    Service ceiling:** 42,700 ft

  • 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.

My thoughts

Having a great old cargo aircraft would be perfect for IF! This unique design and it’s record history would be a perfect fit! Plus having more cargo planes is great!

This would be great in IF! You have my vote!

Thank you!

Don’t thank me, i would also love it in IF!

Nicely done. We need at least 1 Russian aircraft in IF, this would be a great start

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Thank you! I think so too! Be nice see more diversity!

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Well if Russian aircraft would be good then why can’t we start with the superjet, but this is cool too. I would vote, but I’m out of votes.

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Cause I didn’t think of it I like cargo lol

@anon93248082, amazing request. We need at least one Soviet aircraft in the simulator to show how much Soviet technology was used and how complex the legendary systems were. I previously had a vote for the topic before, but I adjusted my votes and sadly had other features on mind. No doubt this will be the next topic after another vote of mine gets given back. Great C-17 competitor. If we get the Air Koryo livery it will make North Korea a little bit more huggable and realistic to fly in.

If this is added it’s going to be better than the return of the Backstreets Boys.

I mean, what are the chances? 😏


Got my vote 🤭


Thank you! I think a Soviet built aircraft would be fantastic! The ugliness of this aircraft just screams soviet! I think IFLLC would have a fun time with this aircraft if they design it!

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Thank you! Hopefully we can get more support!

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I’m sure @Krasnimish would throw a vote in too


The more the Marier!!

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I must say, it does that quite literally. I’ve seen one land and takeoff and the engines are just amazing when they kick up a noise. The sound of the throttle advancing really gets me. Makes me get fuzzy inside.

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I was kinda expecting this request, given your new job 😀
What a beast of a plane! Can’t wait to see someone spawning with this thing in a tiny GA spot!

I consider this a ‘nice to have’ though.

Take care!



Agreed! I have seen the IL76 depart several places I work and it’s so loud and ugly it’s just amazes me the thing flies! It be so fun to have on here!


Haha! Some one did the 124 so I did Russia’s next best thing! I do have another Russian jet I’m ganna request ;)


Would be very fitting, IF lacks any type of Russian manufactured planes. The IL76 would be a great addition!
Got my vote!


Thank you! I think this be a great fit specially how many uses there’s been for the IL76! Plus it’s Russians!