IL-78MK Convertible Flight Refuelling Tanker

Companies & Organizations:

The IL-78MK flying tanker is designed for air refuelling of tactical and heavy aircraft, and also for ground refuelling of tactical aircraft. Air refuelling can be carried out by day and night with visual approach and contact.


The IL-78MK is a derivative of the IL-78 aircraft providing increased fuel transfer at refuelling ranges. It is capable of transferring up to 74,000 kg of fuel at a refuelling range of 1,000 km, and up to 30,000 kg at 3,500 km.


The IL- 78MK can refuel one heavy aircraft from the rear fuselage refuelling pod, or two tactical aircraft from the wingtip refuelling pods. By removing the fuselage fuel tanks and refuelling pods, the IL-78MK can be converted into a transport version capable of airlifting up to 70 people or up to 48 tonnes of cargo.



The IL-78MK mounts special equipment for in-flight and ground refuelling. Two auxiliary removable fuel tanks with a total capacity of 45,928 litres are mounted in the fuselage, and two standard UPAZ refuelling pods at the wingtips. The PAZ-1M refuelling pod is carried on a special portside pylon in the rear fuselage.


The aircraft can be fitted with an upgraded refuelling system adapted to foreign aircraft. In place of the standard pressurized gunner station in the rear fuselage a refuelling operator station with refuelling pod controls is arranged. The aircraft is maintained with the use of the organic ground equipment of the IL-76MD aircraft, auxiliary equipment for hoisting the refuelling pods to the underwing and fuselage pylons, containers with ground refuelling hoses, and the refuelling pod maintenance suite.


Length, m



Wing span, m



Parked height, m



Max take-off weight, kg:

concrete runway 210,000

soil airfield 157,500


Max landing weight, kg:

concrete runway 155,000

soil airfield 138,000


Max payload, kg:

concrete runway 43,000

soil airfield 33,000


Max transferred fuel weight, kg



Cruising air speed, km/h



Cruising altitude, m



Refueling air speed, km/h



Refueling altitude range, m



Ferry range, km



Take-off run (max take-off weight), m




4 x D-30KP-2 turbofans




Defense Products & Services: IL-78MK Convertible Flight Refuelling Tanker
Companies & Organizations: 
Defense Products & Services Sectors: Aircraft, tanker, air refuelling, strategic
Description: IL-78MK Convertible Flight Refuelling Tanker
Source of Information: Rosoboronexport Joint Stock Company