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 is a report about an Su-24 or Su-25 being downed few hours after the Il-76. Any INDEPENDENT or Ukrainian confirmation or video/picture evidence?

    • Still no. But this time rebels claim that they captured pilot(So its Su-25). So confirmation tomorow are possible.

    • Here is video of Su-25 over Horlovka. Some say that you can see that he was hit, but such low quality cannot see anything. This is all what i have unfortunately.

      With tanks its easier. Here is disabled Ukrainian tanks in Lugansk with almost full ammo.(Crew has retreated to nearby building, but was cornered by rebels,tank commander shooted his crew member(his crew members were from Poltava and were ok with surrendering to rebels) and blow himself with grenade, sick guy, gunner was captured and would be handled to relatives(there is another video with him captured)).
      Rebels already managed to repair tank(he had damaged transmision, there is photo of him later moved to rebel position).

  2. It won’t make a difference in time unless we give them pilots as well. You volunteering?

  3. All reports I’ve seen indicate that the IL-76 was brought down by machine gun fire, not MANPAD: . Not sure about the other plane, there is precious little information about that incident.

  4. AC-130’s are useless when the enemy has MANPADS…The U.S Air Force learned that the hard when during the 1991 Gulf War, and will not operate them when there is even the slightest chance of real AA to be encountered.

    • Not true, Spectre flew quite a few missions over Sarajevo in late 95 early 96. As someone on the ground I can tell you they were very useful. I’m sure there are other examples.

    • Useless huh? No it flew many missions over MANPADs infested areas. Yes it will be operated and is very many times especially for SOCOM operations.

  5. The Ukrainians appear to be making a lot of the mistakes the Russians made in Chechnya and the Soviets in Afghanistan…Surprise, surprise…

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