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Il-80 / Il-86VKP / Il-87 Maxdome

The Il-86VKP ("veh-kah-peh" - Vozdooshniy Komanndniy Poonkt - airborne command post) is Russia's counterpart to the Boeing E-4B NEACP (National Emergency Airborne Command Post). It is meant to fly the the President of Russia and/or surviving authority figures and highest ranking members of the Soviet (now Russian) government to safety in the event of all-out nuclear war.

The IL-80 (IL-86VKP) is the air or air command center command post of General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces. The aircraft is designed for the control of the armed units of the Russian army in military conflicts with the use of nuclear weapons. It developed in the Design Bureau. Ilyushin in 1980 on the basis of passenger aircraft IL-86. In some sources the plane is called "IL-87".

Some sources report that the Il-80 / Il-86VKP has the NATO reporting name Camber: the same as the passenger Il-86. Other sources report the aircraft is the IL-87 Maxdome. The Russian military name is Aimak. The word Aimak, or Eimak (Mongolian for "clan," or section of a tribe), is the name given to certain nomadic or semi-nomadic tribes of Mongolian stock inhabiting the north and north-west Afghan highlands immediately to the north of Herat. They were originally known as "Chahar (the four) Eimaks," because there were four principal tribes. They are a bold, wild people and renowned fighters.

On July 10, 1991 the NPP "Flight" and the Defense Ministry of the USSR signed an agreement on the implementation of development activities (R & D) for the development and creation of a unified board of the technical means for the aircraft. According to open sources, first flew on May 29, 1985, and fully stocked with equipment - March 5, 1987. It entered service in 1992. However, according to unconfirmed reports the test aircraft was completed in 1995 or 1997. Also in 1992, for the first time it was photographed by Western photographers.

The first Il-86VKP "Maxdome" was believed to have flown for the first time in the summer of 1985, with the first completed model flying on March 5, 1987. Deliveries reportedly begain 1987. Four aircraft were converted, originally registered SSSR-86146 through 86149, and were first observed by western photographers in 1992. Apparently the last four Il-86s built, the aircraft are heavily modified from the standard Il-86 airliner configuration.

On April 15, 1997 the Russian Defense Ministry signed a contract with his AK. Ilyushin to perform R & D, "the development of conceptual and technical modernization project Vol. 80 and Vol. 82" (IL-80 and IL-82). Apparently, as of the year 2012 of the implementation of the requirements of the customer under this agreement is fully implemented.

Despite the secrecy that surrounds the high-security planes, one of them was robbed in 2020. Two unknown assailants stole 39 units of electronic equipment and 5 radio station boards installed on board the plane while it was undergoing scheduled modernization work, in Taganrog, in the south of the country. All the special equipment was dismantled from the aircraft immediately upon its arrival and was stored in special warehouses. During the incident, a number of secondary appliances, not related directly to the purpose of the aircraft, went missing,” UAC told the TASS news agency.

It was not immediately clear why the top-secret aircraft had been left poorly guarded and how exactly the thieves had managed to get into the supposedly high-security facility. What also remains a mystery is why they had picked that unusual target for the hit in the first place. UAC said it was interested in the “most efficient investigation to find the criminals,” adding that it had been actively cooperating with Russia’s law enforcement agencies. Since the incident, additional security has been deployed to the aircraft’s maintenance yard.

The bizarre theft, which made the headlines earlier in December, got a new twist on 26 December 2020. The plane’s maintainer, the state-owned United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) revealed that the damage done to the plane was apparently less significant than had been thought before. “All the special equipment was dismantled from the aircraft immediately upon its arrival and was stored in special warehouses. During the incident, a number of secondary appliances, not related directly to the purpose of the aircraft, went missing,” UAC told the TASS news agency.


According to the developers, on-board hardware includes up to 300 units of equipment. Normal take-off weight - 208 tons, the length of the aircraft - 59.54 meters, wingspan - 48.06 meters. The aircraft is equipped with four engines NK-86 thrust of 13,000 kg each. Cruising speed - 850 km / h, range - 3600 km. Service ceiling - 11 000m. Any other information on these machines is closed. This is one of the few still not declassified aircraft models.

The onboard air conditioning is filtered to keep radioactive fallout. It is hardened against flash and electromagnetic pulse. All cabin windows are deleted (including the portholes in the doors) in order to protect it from an electromagnetic pulse or nuclear explosion. Cabin entry doors are deleted except for the upper deck forward door on the left and the aft door on the right. Two of the three air stair doors [except the forward one] in the lower fuselange that characterize the Il-86 are missing. There is a baffle blocking the aft cockpit windows, possibly as an EMP or RF hazard shield.

Externally the aircraft are easily identified by the large dorsal SATCOM canoe on the upper forward fuselage. There two large blade antennae aft of this canoe, and numerous other small fairings forward of the vertical fin on the aft upper fuselage, and extending aft from the main lanning gear well on the lower fuselage. The lower fuselage fairings are symmetrical left and right of centerline. A small hemispherical pod is located above the APU exhaust. The tail houses a winch for a towed VLF antenna [possibly to communicate with SSBNs ], with a VLF trailing wire antenna fair lead located on the lower left side of the fuselage. A retractable refuelling probe is fitted below the cockpit on the left, with a pipe running back over the wing. It appears this directs fuel flow into the main wing tanks. The horizontal stabilizers appear to have a collar wrapped around their upper and lower surfaces inboard from the tip, which may be a sensor or communication antenna.

Another departure from the standard Il-86 airliner configuration is the two large turbine-powered electrical generator pods mounted on large pylons inboard of the inboard engine nacelles. These pods are approximately 9.5 metres (32 feet) long and 1.3 metres (4 feet) in diameter. Each features an air intake scoop on its right side, with a jet exhaust on the outboard side of the aft end. Smaller intakes are on each side near the nose, and both pods have a landing light mounted at their extreme front end.

Aircraft Inventory

An IL-86 was built in a special version of "Russia" to serve the President of Russia and three - in the form flying command post Il-80 - control of the armed forces in case of nuclear conflict. Four airframes (c/n 042, 043, 046 and 048, carrying quasi-civil registrations SSSR-86046, '7, '8 and '9) were delivered to the 8th Special Purposes Aviation Division at the Chkalovsky air base near Moscow.

By some reports three Il-80's remained in service; they are painted in Aeroflot colors and international civilian registrations RA-86147, RA-86148, and RA-86149. RA-86147 has been photographed without engines, apparently out of service. The Il-86VKPs are based at Chkalovsky Airbase 30km (20 miles) northeast of Moscow (near the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center at Star City). They are rarely seen, although at least one was flown at an airshow.

The Air Command Post on the basis of the Il-80 is included in the system of air control centers of the Armed Forces. It is designed to work in conditions of failure of ground control points, knots and lines, rapidly changing operational environment, as well as in the case of an opponent of nuclear weapons. For this reason, aircraft of this type are called "Doomsday planes." Only two countries in the world possess such weapons - Russia and the United States. An analog of the Russian Il-80 is the American Boeing E-4B.

According to the publication, The Military Balance, by 2015 at last 4 IL-80 were in service with the Russian Federation. In all there were four such aircraft - registration numbers of the USSR-86146, USSR-86147, 86148, and the USSR-86149. All aircraft were in operation in a separate aviation squadron management and retransmission of the 8th Air Division Task, 1997 transferred to the third formed an aviation squadron, stationed at the airfield Chkalovsky outside Moscow.

Second Generation

On 01 December 2015 "United Instrument Corporation" (UIC, a state corporation of Rostec, announced the creation of the air command post of the second generation of strategic management based on the Il-80. The aircraft would be delivered by the Defense Ministry before the end of 2015.

Deputy General Director Sergey Skokov of UIC said that a new generation of Russian airborne command post has high survivability, functionality, reliability, improved weight and size and lower power consumption. Technical specifications of the permit to manage the land forces, navy, air and space forces, as well as the Strategic Missile Forces. The goal is the organization of communication networks in a totally unsuitable conditions where the ground infrastructure is non-existent or completely destroyed.

Russian Defense Ministry intends to order a second modernized air control point (VzPU) special purpose on the basis of IL-80, as well as upgraded aircraft transponders (CPT) general purpose IL-22. This was reported by General Director of NPP "Flight" (included in the combined instrument-corporation) Alex Komyakov to TASS 21 February 2016. "Plans for the modernization of VzPU and CPT are and at the General Staff and the High Command of aerospace forces is a task extension of the existing categories of aircraft and bringing its functionality to the level of the present day requirements of industry is ready to solve this problem.." - Komyakov said.

He added that the Ministry of Defence has already expressed a desire to purchase a second aircraft of this generation. "That depends on us, we are willing to do, and the Ministry of Defence understands that it is necessary", - said the agency. Earlier it was reported that the defense industry (part of the state corporation "Rostec") created for the Russian Defense Ministry VzPU Special second-generation on the basis of IL-80.

Third Generation

Next, the third generation of air command and control centers, also known as planes "Doomsday" will appear in Russia in five - seven years, Alexander Yakunin, CEO og Instrument-United Corporation (OPK is included in "Rostec") said in an interview with Tass on 22 December 2015.

"Now we are completing the transfer of the Ministry of Defense of the aircraft of the second generation, but are already working on the next, the third generation, which, according to our calculations, will in the next five - seven years," the spokesman said. Such aircraft, said Yakunin, are included in the overall command and control system, but are intended for use in critical situations - when the fail ground control points and communication lines. In addition, the air command centers can be applied in a rapidly changing operating environment.

"The third generation of equipment is more modern, with more sophisticated channels of data transmission, which will provide a new level of communication and control efficiency for these aircraft will be closed New army ACS. (Automated control system), The modernization of which is currently underway," the head of the defense industry said. Similar aerial command posts, according to Yakunin, is a "strategic" staff on the wings ", where you can manage all species and genera of troops, including the Strategic Missile Forces, Space Forces Air, surface and submarine fleet.

Previously, the general director of RPC "Polyot" (included in the defense industry) Alexander Komyakov said that currently under development was a strategic point of air management of the third generation, but was too early to specify the timing and characteristics of the aircraft.

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Page last modified: 13-09-2021 17:24:57 ZULU