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The Il-20 is a military version of the Il-18 passenger airplane, with electronic equipment and an array of external antennae. It is still used by the Russian Air Force as flying command post. This version is sometimes unofficially referred to as Il-20 or Coot-A in NATO code. A maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine aircraft, the Il-38, was also developed from the Il-18.

A coot is a species of small waterfowl. The Coot is seldom seen on dry land, and its power of active progression on shore has been doubted. The Coot is a common bird upon large ponds, lakes, and slow rivers; it also frequents the level shores of some parts of the coast, where extensive mud-flats are laid bare at each retiring tide, preferring, however, open waters, and does not, except in the breeding-season, so much seek the sheltered reed-grown situations frequented by the Moor-hen; the extreme watchfulness of the Coot enabling it to avoid danger.

Colonel Hawker, in his Instructions to Young Sportsmen, says, "If a gentleman wishes to have plenty of wild-fowl on his pond, let him preserve the Coots, and keep no tame Swans. The reason that all wild-fowl seek the company of the Coots, is because these birds arc such good sentries, to give the alarm by day, when the fowl generally sleep."

A coot picks up grain with surprising alacrity, even much quicker than any of our domestic poultry. If deprived of water, on which to pass the night, it will roost, as other land birds, upon any elevated situation, and it will ascend a tree with the activity of a Wren. In reference to the power of its claws, the sportsman's book contains the following caution: "Beware of a winged Coot, or he will scratch you like a cat." . On approach within about two hundred yards, the whole body, amounting at the least calculation to several thousands, partly rose and flapped along the surface of the water, making a tremendous rushing noise.

Coots have a very powerful flight when once on the wing, and fly with their legs stretched out behind, acting the part of a tail, in the manner of a Heron. In Scotland and the north of England they arrive in the marshes and lakes to breed, and retire again at the commencement of winter to the more southern coasts.

Sir Thomas Browne of Norwich, when writing of British Birds about 1635, says, "Coots are in very great flocks on the broad waters. Upon the appearance of a Kite or Buzzard, I have seen them unite from all parts of the shore in strange numbers; when, if the Kite stoop near them, they will fling up, and spread such a flash of water with their wings, that they will endanger the Kite, and so keep him off again and again in open oppositionand this habit they practise to the present time to defend themselves or their young from the frequent attacks of large and predaceous Gulls."

The term "old coot" is an expression used to describe a cranky, surly, or pesky old person, not generally used in common parlance. By one account, teh breed of bird Coots were implicated in this negative expression because they are common and numerous. Duck hunters consider them pests and a distraction because of this commonness. The sheer numbers of coots make it difficult locate and shoot more attractive and sought after ducks. To call someone an "old coot" is a way to deem them unwanted or unattractive. With the meaning ''fool,'' usually but not necessarily old, coot had its first citation in 1766; old coot is not redundant.

The Il-18 airframe served as the basis of the Il-20 ELINT / reconnaissance platform. Aircraft in the IL-18 family which bore separate designations included the IL-20M ELINT, the IL-20RT space tracker, the IL-22 airborne command post, the IL-24N Ice reconnaissance aircraft used to support commercial shipping operations in the Arctic regions. 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.

A further modification was the Il-20DSR though little is known of the nature of its upgrades. In 1973, four additional aircraft were built as Il-20RTs to act as communications and radio-relay aircraft, these however were later superseded by an Ilyushin Il-76 variant.

Il-20 - Tactical Assault and dive-bomber

The single piston-type tactical attack aircraft Il-20 was designed as a two-seat all-metal monoplane with classically arranged tail. Ilyushin OKB was charged on March 11, 1947 with the development of a heavily armored battle Single-engine piston aircraft as a successor to the type IL-10 (Beast). But the M-47 (MF-47) engine was in fact at that time still somewhat immature, and its operation was accompanied by a strong vibration. On 14 May 1949 the Council of Ministers put a definitive halt to the development of the IL-20 aircraft type. After the fatal failure of the additional development efforts in the field, Ilyushin OKB attack aircraft concentrated on jet engine Il-40 (Brawn) and advanced modification of the proven Il-10 (Beast), which became known as Il-10M (Beast). The designation Il-20 while it was later used twice, both for civilian postal modification twin-engine jet frontline bomber Il-28 type (Beagle) and special reconnaissance modification of a four-engine turboprop transport aircraft Il-18 type (Coot).

Il-20 - Il-28 type (Beagle) conversion

In 1952, Marshal SF Žavoronkov, who had held the post of head of GU GVF (Main Directorate of the Civil Air Fleet), asked the Supreme Commander of the VVS Marshal PF Žigareva to convert five twin-engine jet frontline bombers Il-28 type (Beagle) to Aeroflot. Aeroflot while said aircraft from the beginning planned to use the urgent transport of cargo (eg. Newspapers matrix) and post and, not least, to retrain flight and ground personnel Aeroflot from piston aircraft type IL-12 (Coach), Il-14 (Crate) and Li-2 (Cab) to the current technique. The designation Il-20 was later used yet again, for special reconnaissance version of the four-engine turboprop transport aircraft Il-18 type (Coot).

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Page last modified: 13-11-2016 18:56:39 ZULU