The big bad IL-76 "Bandit" (Image © Ilyushin)

Smile, here is Russia’s IL-76 Candid … uh … Bandit

We have seen many things here at Airheadsfly.com, but there is always room for more amazement. In what cannot be anything else than creative thinking the Russian Air Force has come up with an innovative way to make way on a landing zone for its incoming airborne or air landing unit. Leave the dedicated bombers at home, but just strap a few free-fall explosives underneath the wings of the troop carrying Ilyushin IL-76 airlifters, called Candid by NATO.

The idea is that the IL-76s will fly into a relatively light defended hostile area at about 270 knots at 1650 to 3300 feet to drop at least four free-fall bombs up to 1000 pounds from four underwing hardpoints onto targets on the ground. Then the plane is expected to circle around and land the plane on the paved or unprepared runway to let the troops and vehicles on the same plane storm the field, or to go back up and let the paratroopers jump onto the field.

Tver
According to a statement by Ilyushin practice trials with dumb bombs have already been carried out in the Tver region, using an IL-76MD. The tests included at least 10 teams from bases in Orenburg, Pskov and Taganrog as well, each apparently making 8 practice flights totalling 100 flight hours in which a total of 30 dummy bombs were dropped.

In order to help the incoming airlifter pilots to their targets, a reconnaissance team on the ground already inspects the landing zone and uses flares or other beacons to guide the planes to where they need to go. How this will work in a real-life war environment is yet unclear.

Bandit
NATO gives all Russian military aircraft a reporting name, with the first letter always giving away its function – the C is for Cargo, the B for Bomber. We at Airheadsfly.com think it is a small step from Candid to Bandit.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, including source information provided by Ilyushin

The big bad IL-76 "Bandit" (Image © Ilyushin)
The big bad IL-76 “Bandit” (Image © Ilyushin)
One cannot blame Ilyushin and the Russian Air Force for a lack of creative thinking  (Image © Ilyushin)
One cannot blame Ilyushin and the Russian Air Force for a lack of creative thinking (Image © Ilyushin)
Getting things ready to turn the IL-76 airlifter into a bomber (Image © Ilyushin)
Getting things ready to turn the IL-76 airlifter into a bomber (Image © Ilyushin)
Bombs up (Image © Ilyushin)
Bombs up (Image © Ilyushin)
Attaching a practice bomb underneath the wing of the modified IL-76MD (Image © Ilyushin)
Attaching a practice bomb underneath the wing of the modified IL-76MD (Image © Ilyushin)
The modified IL-76MD with four hardpoints to drop at least four bombs up to 1,000 pounds onto ground targets (Image © Ilyushin)
The modified IL-76MD with four hardpoints to drop at least four bombs up to 1,000 pounds onto ground targets (Image © Ilyushin)