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.