Wednesday, 1 February 2012

IL-76 [Illyushin 76MD]

Origin: Russia
Type: Heavy Transport Aircraft.
Crew: Two pilots, One Navigator, One Flight Engineer
Weights: Empty - 75,000 kg (165,347 lbs.)
............MTOW - 170,000 kg (374,786 lbs.)
Engine: Il-76 : Four Soloviev D-30KP-1 turbofans (26,455 lbf thrust)

Speed: Maximum - 459 knots (528 mph; 850 km/h) at 11,000 meters (36,090 feet)
..........Max. cruising speed - 432 knots (497 mph; 800 km/h)
Service Ceiling: 12,000 meters (39,370 ft.)
Range: Maximum - 3107 miles (5000 km) with a 40,000 kg (88,185 lbs.) payload.
Capacity:  225 paratroopers or 40 tons freight, wheeled or tracked armoured vehicles, etc.
Avionics: Search /Weather Radar (Il-76).
Armament: Twin 23mm cannon in tail turret (removed in Upgraded Il-76.
Self Defence: ECM - Flare/Chaff Dispenser.
More: Il-76, on Wikipedia

A four engine heavy duty/long haul military transport aircraft of Russian origin with a max speed of 850 km/hr.  It has a twin 23 mm cannon in tail turret and capacity to carry 225 paratroopers or 40 tonnes freight,  wheeled or tracked armoured vehicles.
Variants: Illyushin 76MD
Units Equipped: 4 +
....................... 44 Squadron "Mighty Jets"
....................... 25 Squadron "Himalayan Eagles" - 'A' Flight
....................... 50 AEW Squadron
....................... 78 Mid Air Refuelling Squadron "Valorous MARS" 
....................... Aviation Research Center (Cabinet Sectt)
Brief History: 
Il-76M Transports
Known as the Gajraj (King Elephant) in the IAF, the IL-76MD forms the strategic/heavy transport fleet. 
The Indian Government first approved the induction of IL 76 MD aircraft in March 1983.  The IAF ordered a total of Seventeen aircraft during the period  December 1983 to 1988. The cost of the aircraft ranged from Rs 35.35 crores for the the 1983 order to  Rs.43.50 crores for the last examples contracted in 1988. 
The overhaul period of the Il-76 airframe was stipulated as 5,000 flying hours whereas that of the engine was 2,000 hours or 10 years. Ten engines installed on these aircraft however, were withdrawn prematurely after completing only 9.05 to 38.15 percent of their prescribed overhaul life. The sanctioned utilisation rate was 66 hours per aircraft per month, the rate achieved by these aircraft during the period 1985 to 1988 was only 15.35 to 28.26 hours.

Deliveries to the IAF began in 1985 and they were used in the Maldives in 1987 and in Sri Lanka during 1987-1990 to great effect. The aircraft also flew pioneering missions like airlifting Bofors Howitzers to Thoise and T-72 tanks to Jaffna and Ladakh.

In 1990, two IL-76MDs were modified and their objective was to test the system's effectiveness to divert fire power of heat seeking air/surface-to-air missiles, shoulder-fired guns, and also jamming of radar by dispensing chaff around the aircraft. Today this equipment is standard on the Illyushins.

The 14 aircraft in IAF service are distributed between 44 Squadron and 25 Squadron (one Flight). The remaining three aircraft are operated by the Aviation Research Center which falls under the Cabinet Secretariat.

In 2006, the first of the Il-76s [K3666] underwent an overhaul and upgradation. This involved a new avionics suite and the removal of the tail gunner turret. (The Il-76 had been only the second aircraft in the IAF's transport fleet to sport a tail gun!)

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