Ilyushin Il-78

Ilyushin Il-78

Infobox Aircraft
name= Il-78
type= Inflight refuelling tanker

first flight= 1983
introduced= 1987 (Il-76M)
primary user= Russian Air Force
more users= Ukrainian Air Force
People's Liberation Army Air Force
Indian Air Force
number built=
unit cost=
developed from= Ilyushin Il-76
variants with their own articles=

The Ilyushin Il-78 (NATO reporting name Midas) is a four-engined aerial refueling tanker based on the Il-76.

Design and development

Il-78 first flew in 1983. Three aircraft may refuel in flight simultaneously from one Il-78. The aircraft is equipped with refuelling pods, one under each wing, the third on the port side of the aft fuselage. The operator controls the hose and drogue system from the tail gunners position, from which the guns and radar have been removed. The Il-78 has a fuel jettison system, something which the Il-76 does not have. The jettison ports are located at the wingtips.

Operational history

All Russian Air Force Il-78s are now part of the special 203rd "Orlovski" Regiment of aerial tankers, based at Engels-2/Saratov air base.


;Il-78T:Original production version, has two removable fuselage tanks. This aircraft can be used like a regular Il-76 transport when not needed as a tanker. It has 90 tons of fuel in the wings, which is increased to 118 tons by the fuselage tanks. Maximum transferable fuel is 57.72 tons without fuselage tanks and 85.72 tons when fuselage tanks are installed.

;Il-78M:Equipped with a single permanent fuselage tank, higher gross weight of 210 tons, and no rear cargo door is a dedicated tanker. The cargo ramp is retained but non-functional. The Il-78M entered service in 1987. The total fuel capacity of the Il-78M is 138 tons, of which 105.7 is transferable. [ [Ilyushin Il-76, Russia.s Versatile Airlifter] ]


*Algerian Air Force;PRC
*People's Liberation Army Air Force ordered 2 aircraft in 2005.;IND
*Indian Air Force bought 6 aircraft.Local version of Il-78 known as the Il-78MKI have been inducted into the Air Force.;LBY
*Libyan Air Force;PAK
*Pakistan Air Force reportedly ordered 4 Il-78 Midas air-to-air refueling aircraft from Ukraine. (Air Forces Monthly: November 2006). Deliveries to commence early 2009 (Air Forces Monthly: September 2008).;RUS
*Russian Air Force operates 19 aircraft.;UKR
*Ukrainian Air Force operates 8 aircraft. [ [ Ukraine - Air Force Equipment ] ] ;USA
*North American Tactical Aviation, Inc. A private firm, purchased several IL-78s for their outsourced, air to air inflight operations with various U.S. DoD agencies.

Potential Operators


pecifications (Il-78M)

aircraft specifications
plane or copter?= plane
jet or prop?= jet
crew= Six
capacity= 138,000 kg (304,233 lb) of fuel
length main= 46.59 m
length alt= 152 ft 10 in
span main= 50.50 m
span alt= 165 ft 8 in
height main= 14.76 m
height alt= 37 ft 1 in
area main= 300 m²
area alt= 3,230 ft²
empty weight main= 72,000 kg
empty weight alt= 202,821 lb
loaded weight main=
loaded weight alt=
useful load main=
useful load alt=
max takeoff weight main= 210,000 kg
max takeoff weight alt= 462,962 lb
more general=
* Special equipment: 3 external fuel pumps for simultaneous refuelling of up to 3 aircraft. Two of them are on the wingtips, and the third is at the rear of the plane.
engine (jet)= Aviadvigatel D-30 KP
type of jet= turbofan engines
number of jets=4
thrust main= 118 kN
thrust alt= 26,500 lbf
thrust original=
afterburning thrust main=
afterburning thrust alt=
max speed main= 850 km/h
max speed alt= 460 knots, 530 mph
cruise speed main=
cruise speed alt=
never exceed speed main=
never exceed speed alt=
stall speed main=
stall speed alt=
range main= 7,300 km (
range alt= 3,942 nm, 4,551 miles
ceiling main= 12,000 m
ceiling alt= 39,360 ft
climb rate main=
climb rate alt=
loading main=
loading alt=
thrust/weight= 0.23
power/mass main=
power/mass alt=
more performance=

ee also

*Ilyushin Il-76
similar aircraft=
*Boeing KC-135


see also=


External links

* [ Museum of 203 regiment]

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