The Ilyushin IL-76 is a strategic and tactical airlifter. It was originally built as a military aircraft to transport military equipment, armed personnel, heavy and long size vehicles and cargos and perform airdrop missions.
The aircraft has a length of 46.6m, height of 14.76m, a wingspan of 50.50m and can carry cargos that weigh more than 40,000 kilograms. The landing gear track (outer wheels) and fuselage mid-section diameter of the aircraft are 8.16m and 4.8m respectively.
The plane can carry 126 parachutists or 145 troops in single deck arrangement and 225 troops in double-deck arrangement. It can also house special equipment to carry 114 injured persons.
The plane has glass in the lower-half of its nose. This was specially made so as to help the navigator have an excellent view of the outside especially when landing since the navigator can easily spot runways and drop zones. The landing gear is designed for rough-field operation this giving it its reputation as one of the largest bush planes in the world.
The aircraft is powered by four D-30KP turbofan engines that are mounted on underwing pylons and housed in individual pods secured on the engines. Its four turbofan engines produce 26,455 pounds of thrust each. The plane is able to fly at a speed of 820-850km/h and can fly at a maximum altitude of 12,000m. However the plane requires a takeoff runway that's 1700 meters long.
Fuel is held in 12 integral tanks which are isolated from each other and an inert gas system is used for protection against explosion.
Unlike most military transports the IL-76 is armed. The aircraft is equipped with a defensive aids suite, comprising radar warning, jammers, infrared flare cartridges, chaff dispenser and two guns with a fire-control radar. Aerial bombs or radio beacons are suspended from external bomb racks on detachable pylons.
Since its launch in the late 1960s this plane has been used as a commercial and military freighter and as emergency transport for humanitarian aid and disaster relief. Many years later this plane still rules the skies.
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