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A Western Il-76

uk 75

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In the 1960s the Soviet Union provided its Airline and Air Force with a four engined jet transport designed to replace prop An12s..
In contrast, the United States and the UK developed various designs to replace the C130 Hercules and earlier prop planes. A competition was even held in the 70s between 2 US jet designs. The Winner was not adopted but evolved into the C15. The UK designed a pair of jet freighters, the AW681 and the jet version of the Short Belfast.
Looking at the Il76 and the smaller two engined Kawasaki C1 it is hard to see why the West made such a mess of this one.
We of course have On Atlas' Shoulders and the recent two volumes on US airlifters to stagger us even more with the range of designs looked at in the US and UK.
In the spirit of other what-if aircraft threads could we make a better job of it. A wider fuselage version of the C141 Starlifter like the Jet Belfast? Could we make the AW681 more practical like its smaller Japanese cousin?
Europe didnt even bother. The C160 Transall was its answer.
 

starviking

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Bit of an aside - I remember hearing the Kawasaki C1 was deliberately under-ranged to limit its overseas mobility. It was felt that this was more fitting the postwar anti-war constitution.
 

Archibald

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Jet Belfast, yes. I was tempted by a knee-jerk C-141 = Il-76 but the Starlifter diameter unlike the Belfast was 3 meters versus 5 meters. The hybrid would have been perfect.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Il-76 has a few advantages in e.g. fuselage diameter size but fairly comparable to the C-141 really.

The AMST program's YC-15 led to the C-17 which replaced the C-141. This has a wider fuselage.

I'm not understanding the premise really? What is unique about the Il-76 that was missed by the West?
 

kaiserd

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The US had more than adequate aircraft across the transport aircraft sector - the great C-130, the C-141A & upgraded C-141B, the technology pushing C-5A and upgraded C-5B, and eventually the C-130J, C-17 and further upgrades to the C-5.
The US didn’t miss having a more direct analog to the Il-76 at all.
And the UK got the C-130, Belfast (briefly), and eventually the C-130J, C-17 and Atlas.
So operationally they ended up having at least as good a resulting actual capacity as they could have afforded from developing and fielding any domestic II-76 equivalent.
So again not seeing any great “miss” from an UK perspective (indeed they were better off having not wasting the money and other resources doing so - imagine the likely opportunity costs that would have accrued.)
 

JohnR

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Just a bit off the topic and taking a small step back in time the C133. From what I have read this aircraft was underpowered (at 7500hp each), the comment in On Atlas Wing during a flight by an RAF officer appears to suggest that the engines were being run at full power causing major uncomfortable vibration in line with the airscrews. Then there is the reputation for the engines catching fire. Then you have the competing design of the Antonov AN-22 which id double the power (15000hp each) but having double the maximum take of weight.

Did the contraprop of the Antonov wake the difference? If not what would have been the ideal engine power for the C133?
 
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uk 75

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As Kaiserd mentions, the US and UK do have the superb C130 and eventually the UK gets the C17.
I think what I had in mind was that the Il76 reduced the need for so many different types.
In the RAF it would have replaced the Argosy, Beverley and Belfast and reduced the number of C17s needed.
For the USAF it would have replaced the Globemaster, Cargomaster and some if not all C130s. It would have been a fatter Starlifter with rough field performance. It would have reduced the numbers of C5 needed and also replaced C17 in many roles.
I suppose it should have been a different Starlifter.
From Lockheed's point of view of course Kaiserd calls it right.
 

Hood

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In the RAF it would have replaced the Argosy, Beverley and Belfast and reduced the number of C17s needed.
*cough* AW681
Even so the 1975 Defence Review would likely have flogged them off anyway and C-17 is a generation behind the needs that drove the RAF's tactical transport requirements of the 1960s.
People have tended to overlook just how much of the transport fleet was stripped away in from Andovers to Belfasts and Argosies and Britannias. Left us Herk-wedded for 40 years apart from a dozen VC-10s. Britannias and Belfasts were still doing the donkey work but on lucrative contracts.
 

uk 75

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I was surprised to find that AW681 was less able to carry loads than the C130K. I have not got "On Atlas' shoulders" to hand for the diagram and figures.
If the RAF had had an Il76K instead of C130/Belfast/Britannia fleet in 1975 it might have seen some reduction in numbers but not the same heavylift deficit. A stretched version might have made A400 unnecessary and reduced the numbers of C17s required.
 

Siberia

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In the RAF it would have replaced the Argosy, Beverley and Belfast and reduced the number of C-17s needed.
*Cough* AW.681.
Would have needed to drop the ridiculous V/STOL capability requirement. Even then the AW.681 would still be around a quarter smaller than the Il-76. You then get the question of whether the UK had a need for a jet-powered cargo lifter as opposed to a turboprop-powered one or not.

Does anyone know if the AW.681 got far enough for them to have any decent idea of what dimensions the cargo bay might have been?
 
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PMN1

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In the RAF it would have replaced the Argosy, Beverley and Belfast and reduced the number of C-17s needed.
*Cough* AW.681.
Would have needed to drop the ridiculous V/STOL capability requirement. Even then the AW.681 would still be around a quarter smaller than the Il-76. You then get the question of whether the UK had a need for a jet-powered cargo lifter as opposed to a turboprop-powered one or not.

Does anyone know if the AW.681 got far enough for them to have any decent idea of what dimensions the cargo bay might have been?
AW681-Brochure-9.jpg
 

Siberia

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Thanks for those. So a quick look at the plans the AW.681 would have been roughly comparable in cargo bay size to the C-130, if a touch taller. No doubt faster but likely more expensive both upfront and over its lifetime.
 

Archibald

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The real missed opportunity was an AW.681 with either four Pegasus or (better) four BS.100.
We know the basic technology of the engines work, and hanging them below a high wing would be easier than building P.1154 where the BS.100 and PCB played havoc with the rear fuselage structure. Also hot gases re-ingestion; once again, less an issue if the engines are hanged below a high wing, C-141 / C-5 style.
 

Hood

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AW.681 seems a sort of V/STOL forerunner of the original McDonnell Douglas C-17 proposal.

AW.681 certainly feels close to the XC-14 and XC-15 programmes that came a little later.
Arguably they were the greater missed opportunity but then everyone has been flying 'Herks' for decades and nobody has ever really complained.

Even in the USSR the Il-76 never totally supplanted the An-12 from its workhorse status (though rapidly did as those airframes used up their fatigue life post-breakup).
 

zen

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Nosing over at the cargo bay dimensions in yhe AW.681....

It would seem tight width wise but possible to get 6 land-rovers into that, but it would need stretching some 12ft or more to get 8 in.
 

Archibald

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XC-14 / XC-15 have AW.681 and Breguet 941 DNA...

Interestingly enough, circa 1962 both Flight International and Aviation leak mention the AW.681 as having four BS.100 (the P.1154 engine) rather than four BS.53 (Pegasus)


The BS.100 would have made a lot of sense, considering the P.1154 having the same engine...
 
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uk 75

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Rather like the F4 Phantom and Boeing 707 the Lockheed C130 tends to dominate any alternate history.
The idea behind my Il76 idea was that a single type would replace C130/C141 class aircraft.. AW681 was only an expensive alternative to the Herc, as were C14/15.
 

Grey Havoc

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Arguably they were the greater missed opportunity but then everyone has been flying 'Herks' for decades and nobody has ever really complained.
The 'J' model isn't as well regarded as the older models though.
 

uk 75

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It is interesting that even today there is no direct replacement for the C130.
The A400 is a bit like the Il76 I proposed in the 60s. But it doesnt really.
 
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