Technical data
Type Il-78 Il-78M
Function Airborne tanker
Military transport
Airborne tanker
Year 1987? ?
Crew ? ?
Powerplant (4)
Type D-30KP
Thrust (each) 12000kg
Size (m)
Length 46.59
Height 14.76
Wingspan 50.5
Wing area 300m2
Weights (kg) and Loads
Empty 98000
Maximum Takeoff 190000 210000
Maximum Landing 151500
Wing Load (kg/m2) 633 700
0.25 0.23
Speed (km/h)
Cruising 750 to 800
Refueling 400 to 600
Roll (m)
Landing 450
Takeoff 850
Range (km)
Payload 20000kg 7300
Payload 50000kg 3650
Operational, full load 2500
Ceiling (m)
Cruise 12000
Refueling 2000 to 9000
Payload (kg)
Fuel (wings) 90000
Fuel (fuselage) 28000
Cabin LxWxH (m3) 20.0x 3.41x 3.46 n/a

Il-78, Il-78M by S.V.Ilyushin 'Midas'

Flight probe-and-drogue refueling tanker based on Il-76MD military transport. Three-point (sometimes two-point) UPAZ-1A Sakhalin refueling system allows to serve one heavy bomber from the ventral point or two aircraft of MiG-31 or Su-24 simultaneously from the wing-mount points. Approach of the receiver aircraft is provided by the Kupol navigation system and RSBN short-range system, allowing all-weather day/night mutual detection and approach from distances up to 300km.

Refueling process is monitored by operator, occupying gunner's position of the Il-76. His workplace is equipped with optical rear view system, in addition to radio-technical and light signal equipment.

Once connected, refueled aircraft can receive up to 57720kg of fuel from the wing tanks (85720kg from both wing and fuselage tanks) at rate 900 to 2200l/min.

While early production Il-78 had removable fuselage tanks and could be used as a military transport, later improved version Il-78M can not be converted to transport.

Service career started in 1987, replacing outdated M-4 tankers that stay in service since the 1960's. List of 'client' aircraft includes bombers (Tu-160, Tu-95 and Tu-22M), Il-78's AWACS sibling A-50, maritime patrol Tu-142 and Il-38, Su-24M tactical bombers and MiG-31 and Su-30 interceptors. This list is expanding gradually because most of modern aircraft entering service carry refueling probes, like Su-34 interdiction aircraft, Su-30MKI and Su-35 multi-role tactical fighters.

Il-78 is manufactured at Tashkent aircraft factory, serves with Russian and Ukrainian Air Forces.

Il-76 None

  • ...
  • Il-78
  • Il-78M
  • Il-78 by Ilyushin OKB
  • Il-78 Midas
  • Attack & Utility Aircrafts for PLAAF
  • Ilyushin Il-76 Mainstay & Il-78 Midas
  • Ilyushin Il-76/78
  • Ukrainian Il-78
  • Il-78
  • Il-78, Ilyushin 'Midas'
  • MaxWolf's Pictures from Aerospace Salon MAKS-99
  • The Ilyushin Il-76 at Newcastle Airport
  • IL-76: Twenty Years In Civil Service
  • Created October 31, 1996
    Modified September 07, 1999
    Back to
    Main Gate