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Ilyushin IL-18 (Coot)

Turboprop-Powered Passenger Airliner / Maritime Reconnaissance Platform

Soviet Union | 1957

"The Ilyushin IL-18 turboprop-powered airliner saw global adoption during the peak of the Cold War years - nearly 700 were produced."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 04/04/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The 1950 and 1960s were a tremendous period of growth and advancement for commercial / passenger flight. The end of World War 2 in 1945 allowed all-new technologies to be employed in non-military circles and this included turbojet and turboprop engines. Ilyushin, the storied big-plane manufacturer of the Soviet Union, delivered one of its best-known products in this window - the Ilyushin Il-18.

In the mid-1950s, Soviet passenger carrier Aeroflot, founded in 1923, released a new requirement calling for a budget-friendly 75- to 100-seat airliner for its various routes. This work begat the Ilyushin Il-18 which earned itself the NATO codename of "Coot". The aircraft went on to see a considerable service career in both civilian and military industries and did much to further Soviet air travel during the 1960s and 1970s. The airframe also served well beyond its given passenger-hauling role, adopted for maritime patrol, airborne command post and ELINT (ELectronic INTelligence) activities. Production of the ultimately 678 total aircraft spanned from 1957 to 1985 from Moscow Machinery Plant No. 30.

To go along with the new aircraft directive was also development of all-new turboprop engines. This fell to Kuznetsov and Ivchenko while Ilyushin and Antonov would each focus on the airframe. The Ilyushin submission became the four-engined "Il-18"and Antonov pushed its four-engined "An-10". The engine of choice was to eventually become the Kuznetsov NK-4 series.

A prototype of the Ilyushin design was revealed in June of 1957 and testing ensued throughout thate summer with a first-flight recorded on July 4th, 1957. The Il-18 was selected to succeed the aging line of Il-14 aircraft on the Ilyushin production lines and the initial market form became known as the "Il-18A", this offering seating 89. The engines, the NK-4 series, proved so unreliable that a move was made to the competing Ivchenko AI-20 after only twenty aircraft were completed with the original engine fit. The shift in powerplant then produced the "Il-18B" designation and a prototype of this form first flew on September 30th, 1958 and became the first major mark of the series. Then followed the Il-18 "Combi" which combined passenger and cargo functionality into one suitable airframe.

The Il-18D carried more powerful AI-20M engines (4,250 horsepower) and increased seating for up to 122 as well as an extra internal fuel tank for increased ranges. A communications model was born from this mark as well and three were produced to the standard for the Russian government. The Il-18D "Pomor" was a one-off Il-18D model for use in the fisheries industry. The Il-18D "Salon" was the VIP transport version of the Il-18D line.

The Il-18D featured a crew of nine with up to 120 passengers. It sported a length of 35.9 meters with a wingspan of 37.4 meters and height of 10 meters. Empty weight was listed at 35,000 kilograms with a MTOW of 64,000 kg. Maximum speed was 675 kmh and cruising was int eh 625 kmh range. Operational range was 6,500 kilometers and the service ceiling became 11,800 meters.

A pair of Il-18D aircraft served as the basis for the Il-18DORR fisheries industry model. The Il-18E was based on the Il-18I but lacked the increased fuel capacity and, therefore, decreased its operational range. The Il-18E "Salon" was its VIP model. The Il-18Gr was completed as a converted cargo form.

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The Il-18I, like the Il-18D, featured the AI-20M turboprop engines of 4,250 horsepower. The Il-18LL became a flying laboratory used to test deicing equipment. The Il-18RT were a pair of Il-18V models outfitted with Telemetry Relay equipment for various trials. The Il-18S was used as a VIP platform and based on the Il-18B product. Il-18A, B- and V-models made up various transport forms under the collective Il-18T designation. The Il-18TD was a military-minded transport proposal which was not adopted by Soviet forces. A one-off Il-18 existed as the Il-18USh based on the Il-18V and used in navigator training but not adopted in useful numbers by the Soviet Air Force.

Il-18V became the major variant fielded by carrier Aeroflot. it was powered by AI-20K series turboprops and could seat up to 100 passengers. Service entry came in 1961. The Il-18V "Salon" was its VIP form.

Il-20M "Coot-A" was the NATO-recognized platform used by the Soviet Air Force for ELINT and reconnaissance sorties. It was also recognized as the Il-18D-36 "Bizon". The Il-20RT was a communications relay platform and the Il-22 "Coot-B" an airborne command post. New mission equipment greeted the Il-22M design. An Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) model was the Il-38 "May" based on the Il-18 series. The Il-118 existed only as a proposed, upgraded Il-18 offering to be outfitted with 2 x Lotarev D-236-T propfan engines. as its propulsion scheme.

There proved little groundbreaking design features in the Il-18 which more than likely made it a sound aircraft from the get-go. Its monoplane wing assemblies were straight with clipped tips and each held a pair of engines along their leading edges. The mainplanes, and the tailplanes, were all low-mounted along the tubular fuselage sides. A single vertical tailfin adorned the extreme aft section of the aircraft. The cockpit was held at front, over the nose, in the usual way and a wholly-retractable tricycle undercarriage featured for ground running. Circular windows dotted the sides of the fuselage as did entry/exit and emergency doors.

Operators of the Il-18 line were largely those countries aligned with Moscow during the Cold War (1947-1991). This included Afghanistan, China, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Egypt , Poland, Ukraine and others - its reach was very global and its time in service proving the product to be very reliable and robust, hence its impressive production totals and myriad of operators.

Today (2016), North Korea remains the lone notable operator of the type through its Koryo Airlines brand. NPP MIR (ChK Leninets) of Russia operates just one example.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Ilyushin IL-18D Turboprop-Powered Passenger Airliner / Maritime Reconnaissance Platform.
4 x Ivchenco AI-20M turboprop engines developing 4,250 horsepower each.
419 mph
675 kph | 364 kts
Max Speed
38,714 ft
11,800 m | 7 miles
Service Ceiling
4,039 miles
6,500 km | 3,510 nm
Operational Range
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Ilyushin IL-18D Turboprop-Powered Passenger Airliner / Maritime Reconnaissance Platform.
117.8 ft
35.90 m
O/A Length
123.0 ft
(37.50 m)
O/A Width
33.5 ft
(10.20 m)
O/A Height
77,162 lb
(35,000 kg)
Empty Weight
141,096 lb
(64,000 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Notable series variants as part of the Ilyushin IL-18 (Coot) family line.
IL-18 - Base Series Designation; also covers single prototype model.
IL-18A - Initial production model with Kuznetsov NK-4 engines; approximately 20 examples completed.
IL-18B - Subsequent production model with Kuznetsov AI-20 engines.
IL-18 "Combi" - Combination passenger/cargo hauler
IL-18D - Communications relay platform
IL-18D "Pomor" - Fisheries industry platform
IL-18D "Salon" - VIP conversion of Il-18D
IL-18DORR - Fisheries industry platform; two converted from Il-18D.
IL-18E - Based on Il-18I sans increased fuel stores
IL-18E "Salon" - VIp conversion of Il-18E model
IL-18Gr - Cargo model
IL-18GrM - Cargo model with oversized side access door
IL-18I - Uprated Ivchenko AI-20M series turboprop engines of 4,250 horsepower; seating for 122 passengers.
IL-18LL - Flying laboratory for deicing and other tests
IL-18RT - Telemetry Relay aircraft; two converted IL-18V models.
IL-18S - VIP conversion of Il-18B.
IL-18T - Cargo models Il-18AT, Il-18BT and Il-18VT based on Il-18A, Il-18B and Il-18V respectively.
IL-18TD - One-off military transport proposal
IL-18USh - One-off navigator training proposal
IL-18V - Aeroflot passenger hauler model of 1961; 4 x Ivchenko AI-20K series engines with seating for up to 100.
IL-18 "Salon" - VIP configuration of Il-18V
IL-18V/polar - One-off Polar Aviation model
IL-18V-26A - One-off Polar Aviation model
IL-18V "Calibrator" - One-off Il-18V converted for NAVAID calibration testing.
IL-20M (Coot-A) / (Il-18D-36 "Bizon") - ELINT platform for Soviet Air Force.
IL-20RT - Telemetry and Communication Replay aircraft; four examples.
IL-22 (Coot-B) - Airborne Command Post for Soviet Air Force service.
IL-22M - Modernized mission equipment for Airborne Command Post role.
IL-24N - Cold Weather Service model
IL-38 - Maritime Reconnaissance / ASW platform for Soviet Air Force.
SL-18 - Test / research platforms
IL-118 - Proposed Il-18 with new engine scheme consisting of 2 x Lotarev D-236-T propfan engines.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Ilyushin IL-18 (Coot). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 678 Units

Contractor(s): Ilyushin (Moscow Machinery Plant No. 30) - Soviet Union
National flag of Afghanistan National flag of Algeria National flag of Bulgaria National flag of China National flag of Cuba National flag of Czechia National flag of Egypt National flag of Georgia National flag of modern Germany National flag of Guinea National flag of Hungary National flag of Indonesia National flag of Kazakhstan National flag of Kyrgyzstan National flag of North Korea National flag of Poland National flag of Romania National flag of Russia National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Sri Lanka National flag of Somalia National flag of Ukraine National flag of the United Arab Emirates National flag of Vietnam National flag of Yemen National flag of Yugoslavia

[ Afghanistan; Algeria; China; Bulgaria; Cuba; Czechoslovakia; Djibouti; Egypt; Germany (West Germany); Georgia; Ghana; Guinea; Hungary; Indonesia; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Mali; North Korea; North Yemen; Poland; Romania; Russia; Soviet Union; Somalia; Sri Lanka; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; Vietnam; Yemen; Yugoslavia ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 500mph
Lo: 250mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (419mph).

Graph Average of 375 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
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Image of the Ilyushin IL-18 (Coot)
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Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Developments of similar form-and-function, or related, to the Ilyushin IL-18 (Coot) Turboprop-Powered Passenger Airliner / Maritime Reconnaissance Platform.
Going Further...
The Ilyushin IL-18 (Coot) Turboprop-Powered Passenger Airliner / Maritime Reconnaissance Platform appears in the following collections:
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