Fuel refiller IL-78 aircraft – is aimed at refueling military aircrafts in the air in order to increase their flight
range. Refueling the military aircrafts
in the air gives an opportunity to increase the military-cargo weight and considerably increase air-patrolling time. In the process of
development of the new aircraft, IL-76MD was taken as a basis, and the additional changes were implemented, like:
• Two cylindrical fuel tanks with overall volume of 28 000kg of fuel are installed in the cargo compartment;
• The cabin of the gun-shooter was re-equipped into fuel attendant's cabin;
• Uniform refueling aggregates are established under each wing cantilever and in the back part of the fuselage;
• Modernized radio-electronic equipment, particularly new system of distant navigation is established.
This new system enables implementing
search and approach of aircraft-refiller and military aircraft in the 300 km range in the complex weather conditions and during 24 hours a
day. Refueling of one "heavy-bomber" aircraft with under fuselage aggregate or two "fighter" aircrafts with under wing aggregate are
considered as standard fuel transmission in the air. However, there is possibility of simultaneous refueling of three different "fighter"
type aircrafts using all three aggregates. In the distance of 1 000 km from its airdrome, the refiller aircraft in capacity to refuel from 60
000 to 65 000 kg of fuel and in the distance of 2 500 km from the airdrome, the capacity is decreased to 32 000 - 36 000 kgs of refueling.
Depending upon the chosen regime of refilling, efficiency of transmission changes around 900 - 2 200 liters per minute. When aggregates and
fuel tanks, installed in the cargo cabin, are dismantled, the aircraft can be used as transport aircraft. IL-78M is considered further
development of the IL-78. Due to the new improvements in the wing structure and other structural changes, take off weight of the IL-78M was
increased to 210 tons compared to 190 tons in IL-78. The cargo hatch located at the back of the aircraft is simplified as well as
assault-transport equipment is dismantled with the purpose of decreasing the aircraft's own weight and at the same time to increase the
volume of fuel aimed at refilling the aircrafts. This in its turn bring the opportunity to decrease the weight of the aircraft itself by 5
tons, but terminated the possibility to use this aircraft as a usual military-cargo aircraft. IL-78M is capable to deliver 60 000 - 65 000
kgs of fuel to other aircrafts in the distance of 1 800 km from the airdrome or around 32 000 - 35 000 kgs in the distance of 4 000 km.