30th anniversary of the search-and-rescue Il-76MDPS maiden flightOn December 18, 1984 the Il-76MDPS search-and-rescue aircraft (tail № СССР-76621) took off for the first time from the airdrome of Tashkent Aviation Production Association named after V.P. Chkalov (TAPOiCh).
On June 28, 1972 the Military and Industrial Commission of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers of the USSR decided to create a search-and-rescue aircraft, based on the Il-76MD and designed for search and rescue of air and ship crews, suffering distress at sea or ocean.
On August 27, 1981 the Commission adopted a resolution № 280 on design of the first test airborne naval search-and-rescue complex Il-76MDPS, which included the Il-76MDPS aircraft, the “Gagara” (Loon) rescue boat and facilities for deployment from the aircraft and the boat.
The Il-76MDPS was designed for search and rescue of air and ship crews that had an accident at sea, as well as for search of landed descent modules of space ships, rescue and evacuation of spacemen after splashdown.
The Il-76MDPS was equipped for airdropping the “Gagara” rescue boat and survival equipment in airdrop containers, search-and-rescue evacuation detachments up to 40 people strong.
On-board equipment of the aircraft allowed quick delivery to the emergency area. The Il-76MDPS was able to barrage in the distressed area for an hour performing a rescue operation. Moreover it could airdrop the “Gagara” boat with crew (3 people) on-board from 600-1500 meters, with sea state up to 5 points and wind speed of 18-20 m/s. The boat was fitted with 3 life rafts PSN-25/30 and could tow them with up to 90 people after the splashdown. The boat had two cabins (7 berths or 20 seats), a closed pilot room, 2 control stations (open and closed), a toilet and a cooking facility. To facilitate lifting of people from water the deck was low and enlarged in the aft area. The power plant was a 55hp diesel engine that accelerated the boat to 7 knots. Operational range – 500 miles.
Tests of the Il-76MDPS were finished on December 9, 1986 and the airborne naval search-and-rescue complex Il-76MDPS was recommended for serial production. The aircraft completed the flight tests, including airdrop of the 8.5 ton “Gagara” rescue boat, but was not put into production.