Ilyushin IL-18

llyushin's Il-18 turboprop airliner played a significant role in developing the USSR's air services in the 1960s and 1970s, and has also been adopted for a variety of military roles, ranging from transport , to command post, Elint and maritime patrol.

The Il-18 was originally developed against a mid 1950s Aeroflot requirement for an economical 75 to 100 seat airliner. The Il-18 first flew on June 4 1957, and entered airline service with Aeroflot in 1959. Some 600 were built mainly for USSR and Soviet client state airlines, with a smaller number delivered for military service as VIP and general transports. Given the NATO reporting name 'Coot', a small number remain in military service.

The Il-18 airframe also serves as the basis of the Il-20 Elint/reconnaissance platform. The Il-20 ('Coot-N) was first observed in 1978 and features a variety of antennas, with a large ventral canoe presumed to contain a side looking radar. Blisters on either side of the forward fuselage are another obvious external feature.

Several Il-22 ('Coot-B') airborne command post aircraft were converted from surplus Il-18 airliners, and again feature a variety of antennas and external protuberances.

The most well known military adaptation of the Il-18 is the maritime patrol/ASW Il-38 'May'. The Il-38 is believed to have flown for the first time in 1967 and about three dozen serve with Russian naval aviation, while five were delivered to India in 1975. Details of the Il-38 are limited, but the airframe is stretched by 4m (1 3ft) over the Il-18 and the wings are moved forward. The tail contains a MAD, while under the forward fuselage a search radar (named 'Wet Eye' by NATO) is housed in a bulged radome. There are two internal weapons bays, one forward and one rear of the wing."

Country of origin: Russia

Type: Il-18 - VIP & general transport. Il-20 - Elint platform. Il-22 Command Post. Il-38 - Maritime patrol and ASW aircraft

Powerplants: Il-38 - Four 3125kW (4190ehp) ZMKB Progress (Ivchenko) Al-20M turboprops, driving four blade propellers.

Performance: Il-38 - Max speed at 21,000ft 722km/h (390kt), max cruising speed at 27,000ft 610km/h (330kt), patrol speed at 2000ft 400km/h (216kt). Range with max fuel 7200km (3887nm). Patrol endurance with max fuel 12hr.

Weights: Il-38 - Empty 36,000kg (79,367lb), max takeoff 63,500kg (140,000lb).

Dimensions: Il-38 - Wing span 37.42m (122ft 9in), length overall 36.90m (129ft 10in), height 10.17m (33ft 4in). Wing area 1400m^2 (1 506.9sq ft).

Accommodation. Il-38 - Flight crew of two pilots and flight engineer. Operational crew believed to be nine, which would include a tactical coordinator, sensor operators, MAD operator and observers.

Armament. Il-38 - Forward and aft internal weapons bays can carry homing torpedoes, sono-buoys; and nuclear and conventional depth charges.

Operators. Il-18 - China, North Korea, Romania, Syria, Vietnam. Il-20 & -22 - Russia. Il-38 - India, CIS.