The Il-76 Candid entered service with the former Soviet air force in 1974. The wings are high-mounted, swept-back, and tapered with blunt tips and a slight negative slant. Four turbofan engines are mounted on pylons under and extending beyond wings’ leading edges. The fuselage is long, round, and tapering to the rear, featuring a rounded nose with radome on the chin. The bottom portion of nose glassed-in. The tail flats are swept-back, tapered, and high-mounted on a swept-back, with the tapered tail fin forming a T.
The ll-76MF(TF) is the latest development of the popular cargo aircraft and features a 6.6 meter fuselage extension which increases the size of the cargo compartment by 1.3 to 1.5 times, while new PS-90A-76 turbofans each provide 16 tonnes of thrust. The lower fuel consumption of the new engines increase fuel efficiency by 30%, permitting a 25% increase in range. Furthermore, the additional power increases the maximum take-off weight to 210 tonnes and the payload to 52 ton. Noise and emission levels meet ICAO standard. The ll-76MD and ll-76TD are unique in their class and they can carry cargo weighing up to 50 tonnes over ranges of up to 4000 km.
In addition to the Candid, other versions of the aircraft include the A-50 Mainstay airborne early warning platform, and the Il-78 Midas aerial refueling tanker. The Midas is a three-point tanker probe and drogue based on (or converted from) the airframe of the Il-76MD military freighter, carrying a maximum payload of 48,000 kg. This new aerial-refueling tanker aircraft began development in teh early 1980s. When deployed, the new tanker supported tactical and strategic aircraft and significantly improved the ability of Soviet aircraft to conduct longer range operations. The former Soviet Union's only operational Il-78M regiment was based in Ukraine, which retained the aircraft after independence. Only a handful remained in Russian hands.