As an expert in the aviation industry who was born in the USSR, I am always interested in Russian-made aircraft. I am well acquainted with the previous achievements of the Soviet Union in the field of the aircraft industry, I know modern airliners and I understand at what level of development the Russian aircraft industry is.
First of all, I am interested in transport aviation, because my whole life is connected with it.
I'll start with the legendary Il-76, which is a unique brainchild of the Ilyushin design bureau and the father of all Soviet and then Russian military transport aviation. Surely this turbojet aircraft, which later became the main aircraft of the military transport aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces, is known to many of my foreign colleagues.
The IL-76 is built according to the aerodynamic design of a single-fuselage high-wing aircraft with a single-fin T-shaped tail, a five-support retractable multi-wheeled chassis, with four turbojet engines suspended under a swept wing (D-30KP manufactured by plant No. 36, now NPO Saturn, Rybinsk, Yaroslavskaya. ; or PS-90A-76 produced by "UEC-Perm Motors"). Aft cargo hatch - three-leaf. The aircraft can be based on unpaved airfields of limited size. Currently, the largest operator of this type of aircraft is the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. Along with the "nameless" aircraft, the Russian Aerospace Forces operate several named Il-76MD (Orenburg, Tver, Taganrog, Georgy Pakilev) and one named Il-76MD-90A (Viktor Livanov).
What qualities of the Il-76, the base model of which was released more than half a century ago, allow the aircraft, which has survived several modifications, to remain the flagship of Russian aviation for many years? First of all, it is high reliability, resource intensity, comfortable piloting, efficiency, the ability to land on any ground, high carrying capacity, the ability to operate in extreme weather conditions. An important role is played by the affordable cost of IL aircraft, which surpass foreign aircraft development in a number of parameters. It is no secret that during a pandemic, it is especially important for the aviation industry to reduce the cost of maintaining and maintaining aircraft. Operators are now more than ever interested in cutting costs, and for this important parameter, the simple-to-construct, convenient and amazingly durable Russian transporter is winning again.
The flight performance of the Il is also really worth envying. Various modifications of the Il-76 are capable of delivering cargo weighing up to 60 tons at a distance of up to 6.5 thousand km with a cruising speed of 770-800 km / h. IL aircraft have been successfully operated for decades as the main transport aircraft in the Middle East, Africa and Antarctica by dozens of transport airlines. According to data from open sources, more than 60 thousand IL aircraft were produced at the serial factories of the Soviet Union and Russia for nearly a hundred years. The air forces and transport airlines of more than 40 countries, as well as the United Nations, have operated the IL-76 at different times. Since 2009, among the operators of these reliable aircraft is the ZetAvia airline, under whose flag one Il-76T and four Il-76TD, produced in the CIS, are registered.
Among the new versions of the base model: IL-76T - a modification with a reinforced structure and an additional fuel tank; Il-76TD - modification of the Il-76T; Il-76M - a specialized military version of the Il-76T with cannon armament, and a system with dipole reflectors and jamming; Il-76P (TP, TDP) - firefighting aircraft; Il-76PS - modification for search and rescue operations at sea; Il-76MD Scalpel - "flying hospital"; Il-76K / MDK - modification for simulating the state of weightlessness during training of cosmonauts, Il-76TD-90A - version with PS-90A-76 engines for civil aviation, Il-78M-90A, modernized tanker aircraft, etc.