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World’s Most Powerful Plane: Russian Craft Dominates the Fleet

Russia’s air fleet continues to unique, vying to take edge over its rivals. Il-76 is Russia's and the world's most powerful plane.

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Il-76 is Russia’s most powerful plane in its entire air fleet. It was particularly designed for the usage by the VDV as a transport and paradrop aircraft. Il-76 is designed to facilitate VDV, which operates on a similar concept of US Marines, used for the rapid deployment of the force and equipment. VDV is the specialist airborne branch of the Russian military separate from the rest of the ground forces.

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For a truly rapid-deployment role, pure paradrop units exist in the VDV. The VDV unit of the Russian force is responsible to deploy an independent, lightweight mechanized infantry fighting force straight from the aircraft. The Il-76 is designed to fit three BMD air-borne infantry, fighting vehicles in the rear, enough to equip a single platoon of VDV. Furthermore, as the BMD’s get larger, the aircraft gets stronger.

The latest version of Il-76, the Il-76MD-90A, is fitted with a stronger airframe and engines to cope with the increased weight of the new BMD-4. The traditional “assault” role of the Il-76s is evident in their original design’s provision for rear-facing 23mm anti-air guns to possibly defeat enemy fighters.

Read more: Here are the 5 most lethal stealth war weapons

Russian airforce and military stand next to the USA in the world. According to the 2018 Military Balance Report, the Russian field 177 heavy to medium transport aircraft. This stands in contrast to America’s 658, China’s 84, France’s 46, and the UK’s 44. The Russian fleet has been heavily used in the Syria war.

The future of the Russian transport fleet appears to follow the same course, giving it greater airlift capacity and flexibility. To sustain its status as the second greatest air-mobile military, Russia is looking to upgrade and expand the fleet.

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The Russian aircraft are not looking for other heavy or super-heavy aircraft, but rather another medium-weight transport. It suggests that the Russian Air Force’s transport fleet’s primary purpose will continue to deploy the relatively lightweight vehicles of the VDV, without the need for heavier single-item lift capabilities.

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