45th anniversary of the military transport Il-76 maiden flight
On March 25, 1971 at Central Aerodrome named after Frunze in Moscow the crew under the command of Honoured test-pilot of the USSR Eduard Kozlov performed the first flight of heavy military-transport Il-76, the first Soviet jet military-transport aircraft.
Order of USSR Aircraft Industry Minister dated June 28, 1966 charged Ilyushin Design Bureau team with development of military-transport aircraft with 4 turbofan engines for air dropping of troops, combat equipment and military cargo
On February 26, 1967 General Designer Sergey Ilyushin approved technical proposal for creation of a military-transport aircraft with Д-30КП turbofan engines, designed by Solovyov Design Bureau.
On November 27, 1967 the USSR Council of Ministers adopted the resolution for creation of the Il-76 military transport aircraft.
Creation of the aircraft was directed by Genrikh Novozhilov, who was appointed General Designer of the Bureau on June 28, 1970.
On May 5, 1973, the first production aircraft was flown from Tashkent Aircraft Factory aerodrome by the crew of test-pilot Alexander Tyuryumin. This aircraft started flight testing of combat employment practices (airdropping of personnel, cargo and equipment).
Aircraft army trials began in November 1973 and the following the Military-transport aviation started to receive the Il-76 aircraft. In July 1973 the Il-76 set 25 world records, setting itself as one of the top world aircraft in 40-60 tons category.
Tashkent Aircraft Factory produced a total of 940 military and civil aircraft of the Il-76 family. There were created more than 20 modifications, such as fuelling aircraft, firefighting aircraft, airborne early warning aircraft, zero-g aircraft, etc.
The Il-76 opened new opportunities for delivery of various cargo and equipment to remote areas, including drifting research stations in the Arctic Ocean, using different types of parachute air dropping. Starting from 1982 there were numerous air expeditions for delivery of cargo to drifting stations. During these expeditions Design Bureau specialists developed a new method of cargo air dropping on parachute systems with the use of gravity (dropping of cargo in climb mode), which is frequently used nowadays for cargo delivery in extreme situations.
The next major modernization of the Il-76MD was heavy transport Il-76MD-90A, which is now being manufactured at Aviastar-SP factory in Ulyanovsk. The aircraft is fitted with new flight-navigation complex, auto-pilot system, communication set and «glass»-cockpit, which meets all modern avionics requirements and increases flight safety. Replacement of standard Д-30КП2 engines with much more modern ПС-90А-76 power plants, modified wing and reinforced landing gear also considerably increase aircraft operational capabilities.
At present Aviastar-SP factory in Ulyanovsk is manufacturing new fuelling aircraft Il-78M-90A with ПС-90А-76 engines.
Another modification is the Il-76LL (airborne laboratory), which is traditionally used for flight testing of new advanced aircraft engines, including ПД-14 engine, designed for the MC-21 advanced passenger aircraft.
On February 28, 2016 the first upgraded military-transport Il-76MD-M made its maiden flight. The upgrade project was developed by Ilyushin Aviation Complex (which forms a part of UAC) in compliance with performance specifications, submitted by the Russian Aerospace Forces (RAF) for modernization of their fleet of heavy military-transport Il-76M and Il-76MD aircraft.
Today modern modifications of this legendary aircraft form the core of the RAF Military-transport aviation, they are operated by EMERCOM, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Federal Security Service, Roscosmos, commercial airlines around the world.