Ilyushin Il-38 : Maritime patrol, anti-submarine warfare and anti-shipping aircraft

Ilyushin Il-38
Ilyushin Il-38

Militarymedia.net - The Il-18 Ilyushin was an important milestone in the development of Soviet commercial aviation. Its performance, capacity and reliability make it an obvious choice for excessive fuselage adaptation for military roles. The first pillow conversion was the Il-20M (western reporting name Coot-A) specialized in strategic electronic intelligence (ELINT) and radar reconnaissance aircraft. Equipped with side-view aerial radar, cameras and other optical sensors, the Il-20M could be considered the Soviet answer to the Boeing RC-135 series.

The Il-22 (Coot-B) airborne command post variant was developed by the Myasischev design bureau and is available in two versions: the Il-18D and the new assembled aircraft.

Four Il-20RT built as special tracking aircraft for space flight support remain in the Russian air force and navy as trainers and carriers.

The re-converted Il-18D and Il-22 also serve as staff/VIP transport.

The Il-38 long-range maritime patrol and anti-submarine aircraft (name the May Western report) began operations in 1968. Production consists of up to 65 aircraft. Search sensors include the Berkut STS (Western Reporting name Wet Eye) search radar and related sonobuoy as well as the tail mounted APM-73 magnetic anomaly detector. May also conducted maritime search and rescue and reconnaissance roles in which several aircraft were fitted with her Comint Vish system. Most of the former Soviet Il-38s remained in use with Russian naval aviation. 

The sole export operator was the Indian Navy which received five Il-38s to equip the INAS 315 Sqn in Dabolim. In 1999 Indian Mays received an improved set of avionics/ESM missions – possibly a Morskoy Zmey search and targeting system developed by Leninets' Parent Company. By continuing the operation of the Tu-142 long-range anti-submarine warplane (west bear-F reporting name), the Russian Il-38 was able to adopt a shorter-range role, and due to its excellent reliability and safety record.

In 2018, Russian and Indian Il-38 aircraft are still in active service despite their old age. 

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