Senator Viktor Bondarev, former commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces, confirms the downing of the Il-76 over Belgorod, revealing the crew’s critical details and professionalism.
Technical Analysis of the Il-76 Shootdown in Belgorod
Senator Viktor Bondarev, with extensive experience as a military pilot and former commander-in-chief of the Russian Aerospace Forces, has unequivocally declared the downing of the Il-76 military transport aircraft over the Belgorod region. This unfortunate incident was evidenced by visible traces in the sky and reports of external impact by the crew.
“I am absolutely sure that our plane was shot down. In addition to visible evidence, our crew also confirmed external influence,” Bondarev said in an interview with the Vmeste-RF television channel. Video images on Telegram channels show a grayish-black cloud and the trail of a missile, suggesting the use of anti-aircraft weapons. The number of missiles involved is still uncertain, with investigations underway to clarify the facts.
Contrary to speculation, Bondarev ruled out a piloting error in the Il-76 crash. He highlighted the skill and experience of the pilots, accredited with countless hours of flight, even in this type of aircraft. The crew’s professionalism was demonstrated by maneuvering the aircraft into a dive away from populated areas, an effort to minimize the impact of the accident.
Characteristics and Capacity of the Il-76 Transport Aircraft
Although the Il-76 was equipped with thermal traps to counter missile attacks, these countermeasures were not considered necessary during its flight over Russian territory. “They were simply following the usual procedures,” Bondarev explained, highlighting the aircraft’s routine between airfields and its safe distance from conflict zones. The Il-76, with a maximum capacity of 256 fully equipped paratroopers, had only 74 people on board at the time of the incident.
Senator Bondarev underlined the reliability of the Il-76, an aircraft that records all flight parameters and internal communications between the crew and ground services. The plane’s highly protected black boxes are expected to provide a full account of the events that occurred. This information will be crucial for the ongoing investigation.
The Russian Defense Department reported that the Il-76 crashed during a routine flight in the Belgorod region. On board were 65 detained Ukrainian military personnel who were being transferred for exchange, along with 6 crew members and 3 companions. A VKS commission is investigating the accident.
Il-76 Technical and Operational Specifications
Russian and Belarusian troops participate in the Zapad-2021 military exercise in the Brest region of Belarus on September 14, 2021. During the exercise, approximately 30 armored vehicles and paratroopers were dropped from the IL 76 MD aircraft.
The Il-76, used mainly for the air transport of personnel, cargo and military material, is a key piece in military logistics operations. It has a remarkable capacity to carry 126 paratroopers with parachutes, 145 people in single-deck configuration and up to 225 in double-deck configuration. Its maximum load reaches 48 tons, with an operational range of 4,750 km when transporting a load of 40 tons. The crew of this robust aircraft consists of a maximum of seven people, including pilots and technical personnel.
This combination of payload capacity, range and versatility in passenger configurations makes the Il-76 an indispensable tool in large-scale transport missions and emergency operations. Its design and structure enable it to operate in a variety of environments, including conflict zones and hard-to-reach regions.
The recent Il-76 tragedy in Belgorod highlights the importance of air safety in military operations and the need for effective measures to protect these essential aircraft. The ongoing investigation is crucial to determine the exact causes of the incident and to implement strategies to prevent future similar occurrences.