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The IL-76 is the standard plane of the Russian Airborne Forces and is capable of dropping the entire range of airborne vehicles and more than 100 ragatroopers. EW systems installed on board are hardly inferior to those on modern fighters. Armament consists of two 23-mm guns. The IL-76 transport aircraft is designed to carry troops and cargo, including military equipment.

The IL-76 is equipped with bombing equipment and, if necessary, can take up to 20 tons of various bombs on board. The aircraft can hang various free-fall bombs, caliber up to 500 kilograms or radio beacons for four beams UBD-3DA. Bombing can be carried out both in automatic mode from the Dome system and from NKBP-7.

Soviet-Russian transport planes have a long tradition of performing as a guest bomber. In line with the guiding ideology of front-line operations, the Soviet Air Force requires military transport aircraft to be designed with a bomb pylon installed under the fuselage or wing, and capable of dropping small bombs.

IL-76MDB bomber IL-76MDB bomber IL-76MDB bomber

In January 2020 the Russian Ministry of Defense released a video of the Il-76MD transport aircraft performing a tactical assault airlift exercise at Tver Migalovo Airport, which showed in detail how the aircraft used its ground attack capabilities in the air operations of frontline airports.

The Il-76 hung two smoke flares on the outer pylons on both sides of the wing to take off. Before landing at the target airport, the pilot circled the airport, visually searched for suspicious targets, and then dropped flares at the target to indicate the aiming point.

Afterwards, Il-76 continued to pass through at low altitude, and the tail gunner manipulated the tail double-barreled 23mm cannon to attack the marked ground target. After completing the ground suppression, Il-76 landed on the runway of the airport.

Why not just drop bombs but flares? This is because the Il-76 has only four underwing pylons that can hang 500 kg bombs, while the GSH-23 cannon at the rear is equipped with 400 rounds. The firepower when attacking ground personnel or light armored vehicles is obviously more accurate, more effective and longer lasting.

"In the Tver region, the IL-76MD military transport aviation crews worked out a unique task for a kind of aviation - practical bombing at the test site. Thus, the VTA pilots mimic the discharge of day and night lighting aviation bombs to indicate the aiming point and the subsequent landing. In addition, the crews of the Aerospace Force worked out firing of stern aircraft guns at ground targets, which designated lightly armored and automotive equipment of the enemy..." reported in the military.

The Defense Ministry said that the flights took place at altitudes from 400 to 600 meters and at speeds above 500 km / h at low temperatures. "The flight crews of the aviation units of the military aviation aviation stationed in the Tver, Pskov, Rostov, and Orenburg regions, including young pilots, took part in the flights. More than 10 Il-76MD aircraft were involved in the flights."

Although the tactics of the Il-76 seem very outdated today, letting a transport plane full of precious materials take a low-altitude adventure above the enemy's head will obviously incur heavy and unbearable losses. But for the Il-76MD, the rear-firing machine gun is still an important weapon, not only capable of attacking ground targets, but also used for self-defense.

The UKU-9K-502-1 tail turret of the Il-76 has two double-barreled GSh-23 cannons built in, and the rate of fire is up to 3600 rounds per minute. The gun is equipped with two types of ammunition, an armor-piercing projectile and a high-explosive incendiary bomb, and is suitable for attacking armored targets and air targets.

The PRS-4 "Krypton" aiming radar at the base of the vertical tail ensures the firing accuracy and all-weather combat capability of the cannon. It is said that this tail gun can even be used as a jamming missile launching system, which can launch 23mm special chaff and infrared jamming bombs.

Such a good tail gun makes the Il-76MD the most powerful transport aircraft in active service. It also makes the Russian Ministry of Defense reluctant to remove the tail gun to save costs, and often conducts targeted training for the crew to maintain its ability to operate the weapon system of the aircraft.

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