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Ilyushin IL-80 (Maxdome)

Airborne Command Post (ACP)


Four Ilyushin IL-80 Maxdome aircraft take on the Airborne Command Post role for the modern Russian Air Force today.

Detailing the development and operational history of the Ilyushin IL-80 (Maxdome) Airborne Command Post (ACP).  Entry last updated on 7/19/2019. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
The Ilyushin IL-80/IL-86VKP (NATO codename of "Maxdome") is an IL-86 four-engined, wide-body passenger airliner converted for specialized military service as an Airborne Command Post (ACP) / Command & Control (C2) aircraft. With the IL-86 developed in the early-to-mid-1970s, this mature airframe was selected for further development as a flying command post aircraft, resulting in the "Maxdome" offshoot. A first-flight involving a converted IL-86 airliner was had on March 5th, 1987 with deliveries following in 1988. Service introduction was unavoidably derailed by the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 which led to official series introduction in 1992. Just four total aircraft were procured by the newly-minted Russian Air Force and this aging fleet continues in service today (2019).

The primary purpose of this IL-86 offshoot has been to support Russian governmental operations in the event of all-out war - namely nuclear war. This platform, therefore, is designed to keep high-ranking Russian personnel (including national leaders) out of harm's way, providing a "flying headquarters" of sorts while the situation on the ground is assessed and reacted to. In this fashion, the IL-80 is intended to operate along similar lines to the American's Boeing E-4B "Advanced Airborne Command Post" aircraft brought along by Boeing in 1974, these four examples built atop the framework of the classic Boeing Model 747 "Jumbo Jet" airliner.

A chief identifying feature of Maxdome is the rectangular protrusion seen along the dorsal line of the fuselage just above (and aft) of the flightdeck. This contains a powerful SATellite COMmunications (SATCOM) fit. Also along the dorsal line are a series of antennas running from the flightdeck to midships. The nose section sees a fuel probe fitted to help keep the aircraft in the air for considerable periods of time (via aerial refueling).

The four IL-80 aircraft in the Russian Air Force inventory (though only three are thought to be operational) are operated by the 8th Special Purpose Aviation Division out of Chkalovsky Airport.

The Maxdome series is set to be succeeded by a newer design being developed atop the IL-96 (IL-96-400) framework. The IL-96 airliner is considerably more modern and provides broadened performance capabilities.


YEAR: 1992
STATUS: Active, Limited Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Ilyushin OKB - Russia
CREW: 12
LENGTH: 197.51 ft (60.2 m)
WIDTH: 157.64 ft (48.05 m)
HEIGHT: 51.51 ft (15.7 m)
EMPTY WEIGHT: 264,555 lb (120,000 kg)
MTOW: 485,017 lb (220,000 kg)
POWER: 4 x Kuznetsov NK-86 turbofan engines developing 28,665lb of thrust.
SPEED: 186 mph (300 kph; 162 kts)
CEILING: 40,026 feet (12,200 m; 7.58 miles)
RANGE: 2,485 miles (4,000 km; 2,160 nm)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 3,000 ft/min (914 m/min)

Variants / Models

• IL-80 ("Maxdome") - Base Series Designation; four conversions from the IL-86 passenger wide-body airliner.

Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (186mph).

Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Ilyushin IL-80 (Maxdome)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
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Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (4)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
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Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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