Tag Archives: Il-76

The Russian Air Force has tested a strategic cargo plane in bomber role

Russia has turned an Il-76 strategic cargo plane into bomber during recent trials

The Russian Air Force has conducted tests with an Il-76MD (NATO codename Candid) aircraft carrying  training bombs during trials organized in the Tver region, north of Moscow, Ilyushin announced on Jan. 30.

According to the company, the aircraft carried four 50-kg P-50T dumb bombs on hard-points under the wings.

T-50 bomb

The “attack run” would see the crew find the airfield, visually inspect it with flares and then drop the bombs ahead of landing on the field, located well behind the enemy lines.

The drops should be conducted with 500 km/h of speed (ca. 270 knots) and 500-1000 m (1650 – 3280 feet) of altitude.

Ilyushin claims that bombs will make it possible to employ the Il-76MD in operations which would involve airfields with unprepared or unfamiliar runways, located in a contested territory.

VVS aims to train 10 crews in the new “strike” role; teams that, according to IHS Jane’s, will be stationed in the Tver, Orenburg, Pskov, and Taganrog regions.

IHS Jane’s additionally notes another issue – the place where the specially trained crews are stationed, excluding the Orenburg region, which borders Kazakhstan, will make it possible for the transport jets to conduct strikes over Ukraine or the Baltic States.

Generally speaking, using bombs with a transport aircraft is not a new idea. One should take into account the (armored and heavily armed) U.S. AC-130 gunships which were fairly successful when employed as CAS (Close Air Support) platforms. U.S. Air Force has also used transport aircraft to drop GBU-43/B MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Blast, also known as the Mother of All Bombs) thermobaric weapons. These were dropped with the use of C-130 Hercules aircraft, mostly the MC-130E Combat Talon I or MC-130H Combat Talon II variants.

C-17 Globemasters were also said to be capable to deliver this armament.

Il-76 landing

Even though transport aircraft have been successfully transformed in bombers in the past, the heavy and scarcely maneuverable aircraft carrying weapons can only be employed during low-intensity conflicts, in areas where virtually no air-defenses exist. Otherwise, using a troop-carrier as a heavy bomber to drop dumb bombs through a SAM-infested airspace, as the one surrounding an enemy airfield, would be almost suicidal.

Il-76 taxi

Image credit: Ilyushin


There’s a lonely Il-76T cargo plane over central Syria right now

In spite of the U.S. and allied air strikes over Syria, there’s a Russian Il-76 over central Russia right now.

Not only U.S. combat planes including F-22s and F-16s are currently operating inside the Syrian airspace.

According to Flightradar24.com a lonely Il-76T cargo is currently overflying central Syria. Interestingly, in spite of the Syrian registration “YK-ATB” FR24 tagged the plane as Russian Air Force…

Callsign is “Manny6”.

Image credit: Flightradar24.com


Extremely rare video shows Gaddafi’s Air Force aerial refueling trials (and failures) in the mid 1990s

The following footage shows Mirage F1ADs and Mig-23s refueling from Il-76T and C-130s during trials reportedly conducted between the end of the 1980s and 1994.

Noteworthy, at min 04:19 you can see a Gaddafi’s Mirage’s IFR (In Flight Refueling) probe disintegrating after a successful plug into an aerial refueling basket.

The footage is quite rare because, as a consequence of the UN embargo in 1992, the Libyan Air Force was forced to abandon some quite ambitious projects including the one to turn two C-130s and two Il-76s into aerial refuelers and give all its Mig-23 an IFR probe.

Nevertheless, this previously unseen video proves testing was conducted over a long period of time involving both refulers types and Mirage and Mig receivers.


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