Russian strategic airlifter landed in Antarctica in reduced visibility

MOSCOW ($1=60.77 Russian Rubles) — For the first time in its history, a Soviet Ilyushin transport plane, originally designed as a military one, landed on the icy surface of Antarctica. IL-76TD-90VD made a flight from Cape Town to Progress Station on November 7th.

Russian strategic airlifter landed in Antarctica in reduced visibility
Photo credit: Army Technology

The flight lasted over 6 hours covering a distance of 5300 kilometers. A video captured the landing of the giant in very low visibility and bad weather. The Russian Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute reported that thanks to the experience of the pilots, the flight and hard landing were successful.

The Il-76 was designed as a Cold War-era Soviet military transport aircraft. The exact description of the aircraft that characterizes it is a multi-purpose, fixed-wing, four-engine turbofan strategic airlifter. The one that landed in Antarctica was built as a military one, but given civilian designations. This aircraft serves the airline Volga-Dnepr. Il-76TD-90VD is designed to serve only this airline.

A new winter complex will be built at Vostok station. Because of this problem, the plane had to land in Antarctica and unload 82 passengers and 6.5 tons of provisions. The runway is adapted to accommodate the landings and servicing of aircraft of various sizes – from small, to such as this Il. 3000 meters long and 100 meters wide are the dimensions of the Russian track.

Brief history

An aircraft of the IL series made its first flight in March 1971. Since then, several military variants have been developed for this aircraft. The Il-76 series of aircraft is extremely high quality, so at a later stage, Russia [Soviet Union] decided to provide these aircraft for civil aviation as well.

Il-76 military aircraft serve 15 countries, while civilian Il-76 aircraft are operated by 20 countries, including the United States.

Military aircraft are designed for the transport of heavy military equipment, and landing operations. These aircraft have two cannons, various radars, as well as a fire control system. In addition to their armament, two radar warning systems, jammers, infrared flare cartridges, and chaff dispensers are integrated.

Some of the military versions of the Il-76 were developed as air surveillance and radar early warning systems. For example, India has a similar reconnaissance aircraft, but with the abbreviation A-50E.

The civilian version of the IL-76 that landed in Antarctica is powered by Aviadvigatel PS-90 engines. The cockpit is partially glass. The Volga-Dnepr airline operates five such Il-76TD-90VD aircraft.


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