Ukrainian Il-76 military transport plane flies through MANPADS-infested zone: separatists shoot it down

Pro-Russia separatists have shot down another aircraft using MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defense Systems). An Il-76 carrying 49 soldiers. All dead.

The following video reportedly shows the downing of a Ukrainian Air Force Il-76 military transport plane, carrying 40 paratroopers and 9 crew members, near Luhansk airport, on Jun. 13.

The aircraft was landing at the airport, when it was hit by MANPADS fired by pro-Russia separatists from the eastern side of the airport.

You can see the missile launch around 00:05 and the explosion caused by the crash of the Il-76 around 00:50.

Since the beginning of the fightings, 10 aircraft (5x Mi-24 Hind and 2x Mi-8 Hip helicopters, 1x An-2, 1x An-30 and the Il-76 at Luhansk) were shot down by the local militia using portable surface-to-air missile systems.

A recent video showed an Il-76 releasing flares shortly after take off from Donetsk, a sign that Ukrainian cargo planes are equipped with self-defenses against heat seeking air-to-air or surface-to-air missiles. However, considered the low speed and poor maneuverability, airlifters as well as helicopters (the latter even more exposed to the risk because they normally operate at lower altitudes) are particularly vulnerable to MANPADS.

Still, in spite of the amount of aircraft already shot down, Ukrainian cargo aircraft and surveillance planes are tasked to operate in MANPADS-infested areas. Better equip them with more effective counter measures or use them elsewhere.

Top image: Wiki


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. There are reports that the Ukrainian military is shelling civilian areas (sometimes with Grad launchers). I don’t know if that’s true but there are definitely instances of civilian areas being attacked by Su-25’s resulting in civilian deaths. If so it’s no surprise that Russia will provide AA systems and also no surprise that there are many people willing to use them.

      • so the Russians are covertly deploying artillery units to shell Russian speaking civilians? nice conspiracy theory

    • I think people should also note that just because weapons were made in Russia, they could have come from a number of sources. Syria and Libya being 2 places were weapons proliferation is an epidemic. But yes im sure too that Russia has a hand in there also – its on their doorstep after all.

    • If you watch the video of the Su-25 strike, clearly they were targeting a “rebel” position – and hit it. There are hundreds and hundreds of tires strewn about from the direct hit on the fortification. Unfortunately, “rebels” set up their position right in a civilian area, and civilian deaths came hand in hand.

      • And what did it achieve? The rebels still control the building, and the killing of civilians will only increase the resolve of the separatists. If ‘neo-Confederate’ separatists seized an administrative building in Richmond, would the USAF bombard it with unguided rockets and JDAMS? I doubt it. These authoritarian leaning governments have 0 regard for collateral damage or their own civilian casualties.


  3. Considering that rebels have taken 12 military bases. And whole SBU arsenals in regions. Its no surprise that they got manpads.
    And do not forget that after Crimea takeother black market is flooded with arms(and sellers(exUkra military that switched sides) most probably support rebels), cause its easy to cover miss of part of arsenal due to situation.
    Ukrainians still have no proofs of Russian origin of any manpads. All captured by Ukrainian army rebels manpads, were either Ukrainian itself, or Polish(they need serious slap for lack control of manpads).

    But i anticipate more direct Russian involvement in near future, cause shelling of Russian speaking population would not be tolerated.

  4. I think you will find the old “plausible deniability” option taken by the west. Oh for sure “we the west” are there, just might not have a union jack / stars and stripes on the soldiers uniform. Additional weapons can also be easily had from Syria, Libya and such. As for Obama not having a idea whats going on? You will find that his VP Joe Biden has a son whos just joined a Ukraine gas company. Multi billion $$$$ imminent. As for “grand strategy”, Russia has now cut the gas on the Ukraine pipeline! Northern Italy, Switzerland and Germany rely on the pipeline. Someone could make a $$$$ ransom if they got into the right energy company!!

  5. they had captured 12 basses by that time, and on june 29th they captured a air defece base and got there hands on a pile of buk systems

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