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Ilyushin Il-18

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Il-18 / Il-20 / Il-22
A Russian Air Transport Il-18
Role Turboprop airliner and reconnaissance aircraft
National origin Soviet Union
Manufacturer Moscow Machinery Plant No. 30
Designer Ilyushin
First flight 4 July 1957
Status In limited service
Primary users Aeroflot Soviet Airlines (Historical)
Rossiya (Historical)
Air Koryo
Produced 1957–1985
Number built at least 678[1]
Developed into Ilyushin Il-38

The Ilyushin Il-18 (Russian: Илью́шин Ил-18; NATO reporting name: Coot) is a large turboprop airliner that first flew in 1957 and became one of the best known Soviet aircraft of its era. The Il-18 was one of the world's principal airliners for several decades[citation needed] and was widely exported. Due to the aircraft's durability, many examples achieved over 45,000 flight hours[citation needed] and the type remains operational in both military and (to a lesser extent) civilian capacities. The Il-18's successor was the longer-range Ilyushin Il-62.

Design and development[edit]

Two Soviet aircraft shared the designation Ilyushin Il-18. The first Il-18 was a propeller-driven airliner of 1946 but after a year of test flights that programme was abandoned.

In the early 1950s with a need to replace older designs and increase the size of the Soviet civil transport fleet, a Soviet Council of Ministers directive was issued on 30 December 1955 to the chief designers Kuznetsov and Ivchenko to develop new turboprop engines and to Ilyushin and Antonov to design an aircraft to use these engines.[2] The two aircraft designs were developed as the Ilyushin Il-18 and the Antonov An-10 and the engine chosen was the Kuznetsov NK-4 rather than the Ivchenko AI-20.[2]

Aeroflot Il-18V at Prestwick Airport, 1960s

The Il-18 design had started in 1954 before the directive was issued and experience with the piston-engined Il-18 was used although the aircraft was a new design.[2] The design was for a four-engined low-wing monoplane with a circular pressurised fuselage and a conventional tail.[2] The forward retracting tricycle landing gear had four wheels fitted on the main leg bogies, the main legs bogies rotated 90 degrees and retracted into the rear of the inboard engines.[2] A new feature at the time was the fitting of a weather radar in the nose and it was the first Soviet airliner to have an automatic approach system.[2] The aircraft has two entry doors on the port-side before and after the wing and two overwing emergency exits on each side.[2]

The prototype SSSR-L5811 was rolled out in June 1957 and after ground-testing it began taxi test and high-speed runs on 1 July 1957.[2] On 4 July 1957 the prototype first flew from Khodynka.[2] On 10 July 1957 the aircraft was flown to Moscow-Vnukovo Airport to be presented to a Soviet government commission; also present was the prototype Antonov An-10 and the Tupolev Tu-114.[2] The Il-18 type was formally named Moskva and this was painted on the fuselage, although the name was not used when the aircraft entered production.[2]

The Moscow Machinery Plant No. 30 located at Khodynka, near where the Ilyushin design office and the prototype had been built, was chosen to manufacture the aircraft.[3] During 1957 the plant began to reduce its production of the Ilyushin Il-14 and prepare to build the production aircraft designated IL-18A.[3] The Il-18A was only different from the prototype in minor details, mainly internal configuration to increase the seating from 75 to 89.[3]

Malev Il-18 in Sweden, 1972

The first production aircraft were powered by the Kuznetsov NK-4 but the engines were plagued with problems so the Council of Ministers decreed in July 1958 that all production from November 1958 would use the Ivchenko AI-20 and earlier production would be re-engined.[3] Only 20 IL-18As were built before production changed to the improved Il-18B, this new variant had a higher gross weight and the nose was re-designed with a larger radome which increased the length by 20 cm.[3] The first Il-18B flew on 30 September 1958 powered by the AI-20; a VIP variant was also built as the IL-18S for the Soviet Air Force.[3] From April 1961 a TG-18 Auxiliary Power Unit was fitted for ground starting rather than the bank of lead-acid batteries. Some aircraft were modified to allow the APU to be run in flight.[3]

With experience of the earlier aircraft a further improvement was the Il-18V variant.[3] The Il-18V was structurally the same but the interior was re-designed including moving the galley and some minor system changes.[3] The first Il-18V appeared in December 1959 and was to continue into production until 1965 after 334 had been built.[3] Specialised variants of the aircraft also appeared, including aircraft modified for flight calibration and a long-range polar variant.[3] Military variants also appeared including the anti-submarine Ilyushin Il-38.[3]

Operational history[edit]

Ilyushin Il-18D of TAROM at Manchester Airport in 1988

The first Il-18, initially equipped with Kuznetsov NK-4 engines, flew on 4 July 1957. On 17 September 1958 the aircraft first flew with the new Ivchenko AI-20 engines. Vladimir Kokkinaki was the test pilot. Between 1958 and 1960 twenty-five world records were set by this aircraft, among them flight range and altitude records with various payloads. In 1958 the aircraft was awarded the Brussels World Fair Grand Prix. In April 1979 a monument was unveiled at Sheremetyevo airport to commemorate the aircraft.

Seventeen foreign air carriers acquired some 125 Il-18 aircraft, seating 100-120 passengers. Il-18s are still in service[when?] in Siberia, North Korea and the Middle East, whilst a number of examples manufactured in the mid-1960s were still in civilian use in Africa and south Asia as of 2014. The type operates in various military capacities, including the Il-22PP electronic warfare and reconnaissance aircraft[4] which entered service in October 2016.[5] A modernized Il-20M with improved radar, radio and optical-electronic reconnaissance equipment entered service in July 2020 to provide secure targeting to Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missile system.[6]

An Il-18 (registration DDR-STD) belonging to Interflug and used as a transport by East German leaders, including Erich Honecker, has been converted into a static hotel suite at Teuge Airfield in The Netherlands.[7]

As of July 2018, there are 7 aircraft in airliner service with 6 operators.[8]

The Il-18/20/22 are serving in the Russian Air Force as reconnaissance and command post aircraft.

On 17 September 2018, an Il-20M was accidentally shot down with 15 people on board near Latakia, Syria.[9]

On 24 June 2023, an airborne command-center Il-22 was shot down during the Wagner Group rebellion. All ten crew members were killed.[10] [11]

On 14 January 2024 by Ukrainian media sources reported that an Il-22 was shot down along the sea of Azov. The aircraft successfully crash landed at Anapa Airport. It was claimed to have been damaged beyond repair. A spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force remarked that it was a "Tenacious bastard."[12][13]


Il-18 on display at Sheremetyevo International Airport
An example at a museum in Borkheide, Germany
An Il-20M in 2009
Malev Il-18 in at an open-air aircraft museum at the Budapest Ferihegy International Airport
Ilyushin Il-18D at China Aviation Museum, Beijing
Russian Air Force Ilyushin Il-20M
Il-20RT, Telemetry aircraft
Il-22M, Airborne command post modernized version
Il-22PP "Porubshchik", EW, ECM airplane

Data from:OKB Ilyushin[14]

Designation of the sole prototype of the Il-18 family.
The original production model, equivalent to pre-production, powered by either Kuznetsov NK-4 or Ivchenko AI-20 turboprop engines. Circa 20 built.
First major production model, a medium-haul airliner that could seat 84 passengers.
Il-18 Combi
Il-18 aircraft modified to mixed passenger / cargo configuration
Similar to Il-18I, but equipped with an extra center section fuel tank for increased range. The Il-18D is fitted with four 3,169 kW (4,250 shp) Ivchenko AI-20M turboprop engines.
Il-18D communications relay
Three aircraft modified to provide communications relay between VIP aircraft and Government bodies.
Il-18D Pomor
A single Il-18D converted to a fisheries reconnaissance aircraft (Pomor = person who lives by the sea)
Il-18D Salon
VIP version of the Il-18D
Two Il-18Ds modified as fishery reconnaissance aircraft for the Polar Institute of Oceanic Fishery and Oceanography, the modification mainly involved the fitment of specialized mission equipment. First flown in 1985 they were later modified back as standard Il-18Ds.
Similar to the Il-18I, but without the increased fuel capacity.
Il-18E Salon
VIP transport version of the Il-18E.
Aircraft converted to cargo configuration, (Gr - Gruzovoy - cargo).
Several Il-18 aircraft modified to Gr standard with the addition of a pressurised side cargo door.
Equipped with more powerful Ivchenko AI-20M turboprop engines, producing 3,169 kW (4,250 shp). Seating increased to 122 passengers in an enlarged cabin gained by moving the aft pressure bulkhead rearwards by 1.64 m (5 ft).
(Letayuschchaya Laboratoriya - flying laboratory), one aircraft modified from an Il-18A to be an anti-icing test-bed and an Il-18V used by the Czechoslovak flight test center as an engine testbed.
Two Il-18Vs were modified as Telemetry Relay Aircraft to rocket and unmanned air vehicle trials.
Prototype for Il-20RT, converted from Il-18A c/n 188000401.
VIP variant of Il-18B
Designation of a number of different test and research aircraft, normally had a letter suffix like SL-18D for avionics trials.
This designation was given to civil and military cargo transport aircraft converted from Il-18A/B/V aircraft.
Il-18AT: Military transport/medevac version based on the Il-18A
Il-18BT: Military transport/medevac version based on the Il-18B
Il-18VT: Military transport/medevac version based on the Il-18V
One Il-18T was modified as a military transport variant to take either 69 stretcher cases or 118 paratroopers. Not wanted by the military it was converted to Il-18D standard.
One Il-18V was modified as a navigator trainer including two dorsal astro-sextant windows. Although it was tested and found acceptable the Soviet Air Force used a variant of the twin-jet Tupolev Tu-124 instead.
Standard Aeroflot version, which entered service in 1961. The Il-18V was powered by four Ivchenko AI-20K turboprop engines, seating 90-100 passengers.
Il-18V Salon
VIP version of the Il-18V
a single Il-18V modified for Polyarnaya Aviatsiya - Polar Aviation use.
a single Il-18V modified for Polyarnaya Aviatsiya - Polar Aviation use with an auxiliary fuel tank in the cabin, revised window layout and enlarged oil tanks on the engines, covered by protruding fairings on the engine nacelles (sometimes referred to as the Il-18D, before the real D model emerged).
Il-18V calibrator
a single Il-18V operated by Interflug for navaid calibration.
Il-20M (NATO reporting name: Coot-A)
COMINT/ELINT reconnaissance airplane version.
Four Telemetry aircraft used to support the Soviet space activities, later replaced by a variant of the Il-76.
Il-22 (NATO reporting name: Coot-B)
Airborne command post version.[15][16] (Not to be confused with 1947 prototype Soviet jet-engined bomber Il-22.)
Airborne command post version same as the Il-22 but had new[when?] mission equipment.[17][18]
Electronic warfare and reconnaissance aircraft. Began development in autumn 2009, one unit built and entered service with the EW detachment of the 117th Military Transport Aviation Regiment.[4]
Two Il-18Ds modified for ice reconnaissance similar to the Il-20M but with civilian reconnaissance equipment, both later modified back to standard configuration and sold.
Maritime reconnaissance, anti-submarine warfare version.
A proposed upgrade powered by two Lotarev D-236-T propfan engines.


Il-18 of North Korean national airline Air Koryo.
Il-18 of Rossiya Airlines.

Civil operators[edit]

Current operators[edit]

 Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Former operators[edit]

Il-18E of LOT Polish Airlines in Warsaw. (1990)

Military operators[edit]

Current operators:

Russia Russia

Former operators:

  • Government of Bulgaria
 East Germany
  • Government of Indonesia (Presidential aircraft)
 North Yemen
  • North Yemen Air Force
  • Government of Romania
 Soviet Union

Accidents and incidents[edit]

Specifications (Il-18D)[edit]

Layout of Il-18
Cockpit of Il-18
Cabin of Il-18 (Interflug)

Data from OKB Ilyushin[14]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 9
  • Capacity: 65-120 passengers
  • Length: 35.9 m (117 ft 9 in)
  • Wingspan: 37.4 m (122 ft 8 in)
  • Height: 10.165 m (33 ft 4 in)
  • Wing area: 140 m2 (1,500 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 35,000 kg (77,162 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 64,000 kg (141,096 lb)
  • Fuel capacity: 30,000 L (6,599 imp gal)
  • Fuselage diameter: 3.5 m (11 ft)
  • Max. landing weight: 52,600 kg (115,963 lb)
  • Max. zero-fuel weight: 48,800 kg (107,586 lb)
  • Max. taxi weight : 64,500 kg (142,198 lb)
  • Powerplant: 4 × Ivchenko AI-20M axial flow turboprop engines, 3,170 kW (4,250 hp) each
  • Propellers: 4-bladed AW-68 I constant speed feathering propellers, 4.5 m (14 ft 9 in) diameter
    • Auxiliary power unit: TG-16M (28 Volt DC)


  • Maximum speed: 675 km/h (419 mph, 364 kn)
  • Maximum speed: Mach 0.65
  • Cruise speed: 625 km/h (388 mph, 337 kn) at 8,000 m (26,000 ft)
  • Range: 6,500 km (4,000 mi, 3,500 nmi) with 6,500 kg (14,330 lb) payload, maximum fuel and reserves for one hour.
    • 3,700 km (2,299 mi) with 13,500 kg (29,762 lb) maximum payload, at 84 - 85% of maximum continuous power.
  • Service ceiling: 11,800 m (38,700 ft)
  • Approach minima: ICAO CAT 1 Decision Height 60 m (200 ft) / 800 m (Visibility) or 550 m RVR
  • Take-off run: 1,350 m (4,430 ft)
  • Landing run: 850 m (2,790 ft)


    • RPSN-2AMG: or RPSN-2N Emblema weather radar
    • NAS-1B: autonomous navigation system
      • DISS-1: doppler speed/drift sensor
      • ANU-1: autonomous navigation computer
    • Put'-4M: navigation system
    • KS-6G: compass system
    • DAK-DB: remote celestial compass
    • RSBN-2S Svod: SHORAN (Svod - Dome)
    • SP-50 Materik: ILS
    • RV-UM: radio altimeter
    • NI-50BM-1: navigation display
    • ARK-11:main and backup ADF (automatic direction finder)
    • RSB-5/1230: communications radio
    • RSIU-5 (R802G): command link radio, 2 of.
    • SR-2M Khrom: IFF transponder (Khrom - Chromium)
    • MSRP-12-96: flight data recorder

See also[edit]

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists



  1. ^ реестр самолётов типа Ильюшин Ил-18/20/22/38 Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Il-18 russianplanes.net
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Gordon and Komissarov 2004, pp. 7-9
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Gordon and Komissarov 2004, pp. 13-49
  4. ^ a b McDermott, Roger N. (September 2017). Russia's Electronic Warfare Capabilities to 2025: Challenging NATO in the Electromagnetic Spectrum (PDF) (Report). International Centre for Defence and Security. p. 16. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 November 2018. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  5. ^ "В рамках единого дня военной приемки Министерству обороны сдан опытный самолет специального назначения на базе Ил-18". ilyushin.org (in Russian). 26 October 2016. Archived from the original on 12 November 2018. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  6. ^ "ЦАМТО / Новости / Ракетный комплекс "Кинжал" сможет получать целеуказания с борта модернизированного Ил-20М". armstrade.org.
  7. ^ "Honecker's plane gets new lease of life as luxury hotel". The Local. 7 October 2011. Archived from the original on 30 May 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  8. ^ "World Airline Census 2018". Flightglobal.com. Archived from the original on 6 November 2018. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  9. ^ theguardian.com: Russia loses contact with military aircraft over Syria
  10. ^ "Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, June 24, 2023". Institute for the Study of War. 24 June 2023. Retrieved 25 June 2023.
  11. ^ Tony Osborne (26 June 2023). "Wagner Forces Shoot Down Russian Airborne Command Post Inside Russia". Aviation Week. Retrieved 27 June 2023.
  12. ^ Axe, David. "Ukrainian Sources: We Just Shot Down Two Of Russia's Best Command Planes". Forbes. Retrieved 15 January 2024.
  13. ^ "Ukraine's Air Force spokesman shows damaged Russian Il-22: It cannot be restored – photo". Yahoo! News. Ukrainska Pravda. 15 January 2024. Retrieved 15 January 2024.
  14. ^ a b Gordon, Yefim; Dmitry Komissarov (2004). OKB Ilyushin. Sergey Komissarov (1st ed.). Hinkley: Midland publishing. pp. 193–251. ISBN 1-85780-187-3.
  15. ^ Rogoway, Howard Altman, Tyler (15 January 2024). "Claims Swirl Around Possible Shoot Down Of Russian A-50 Radar Jet (Updated)". The Drive. Retrieved 15 January 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  16. ^ "Ukraine destroys Russian spy plane and command aircraft - army chief". Reuters. 15 January 2024. Retrieved 15 January 2024.
  17. ^ Panella, Chris. "Shocking images show the wreckage of a Russian Il-22 airborne command plane shot down during the Wagner revolt". Business Insider. Retrieved 15 January 2024.
  18. ^ "Wagner Forces Shoot Down Russian Airborne Command Post Inside Russia | Aviation Week Network". aviationweek.com. Retrieved 15 January 2024.
  19. ^ "Air Koryo КАРТОЧКА ОПЕРАТОРА". russianplanes.net. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  20. ^ Michał Petrykowski, Samoloty Ił-18 Lufthansy, Lotnictwo Nr. 12/2009, p.20 (in Polish)
  21. ^ "AeroLOT - Yesterday's fleet". www.polrail.com. Archived from the original on 20 October 2017. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  22. ^ "Опытный самолет спецназначения Ил-22ПП "Порубщик" сдан Министерству обороны - Еженедельник "Военно-промышленный курьер"". vpk-news.ru. Archived from the original on 27 January 2019. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  23. ^ "Авиация флота получила зависающую бомбу". news.rambler.ru. 13 February 2017. Archived from the original on 1 August 2018. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  24. ^ Wragg 2011, p. 49.
  25. ^ Wragg 2011, p. 51.
  26. ^ Wragg 2011, p. 137.
  27. ^ Wragg 2011, p. 229.


  • Gordon, Yefim and Komissarov, Dmitry. Ilyushin Il-18/-20/-22 - A Versatile Turboprop Transport. Hinckley, Leicestershire, UK: Midland Publishing, 2004, ISBN 1-85780-157-1
  • Gordon, Yefim; Dmitry Komissarov (2004). OKB Ilyushin. Sergey Komissarov (1st ed.). Hinkley: Midland publishing. pp. 193–251. ISBN 1-85780-187-3.
  • Wragg, David (23 February 2011). The World Air Power Guide. Casemate Publishers. ISBN 978-1-84468-784-8.

External links[edit]