Ilyushin Il-80 flying over Moscow on 6 May 2010
Role Airborne command post
Manufacturer Ilyushin
First flight 5 March 1987
Introduction 1992
Status In service
Primary user Russian Aerospace Forces
Number built 4
Developed from Ilyushin Il-86[1]

The Ilyushin Il-80 (NATO reporting name: Maxdome) is a Russian airborne command and control aircraft modified from the Ilyushin Il-86 airliner.[1]


Aerial refueling Probe-and-drogue system visible at the forward left side of fuselage

The Ilyushin Il-80 has the NATO reporting name Maxdome[2] (though some sources claim it uses the reporting name Camber, like the Il-86 passenger jet).[2] The Russian reporting name for the aircraft is Aimak, or Eimak (Mongolian for "clan").[2] The aircraft is believed to have first flown in the summer of 1985, with the first post-modification flight taking place on March 5, 1987, and deliveries starting later that year.[2][3] In all, four aircraft are known to have been converted from Il-86s.[2] They were registered CCCP-86146 through 86149, and were first observed by western photographers in 1992.[3]

Heavily modified from the Ilyushin Il-86, the Il-80 (also referred to as the Il-86VKP) is meant to be used as an airborne command center for Russian officials, including the President, in the event of nuclear war.[2] The role of the Ilyushin Il-80 is similar to that of the Boeing E-4B.[4] The Il-80 has no external windows (save those in the cockpit), to shield it from a nuclear blast and nuclear electromagnetic pulse.[3] Only the upper deck forward door on the left and the aft door on the right remain from the standard design.[2] There is only one airstair door, instead of three. An unusual baffle blocks the aft cockpit windows. This may serve to block EMP or RF pulses.[2]

Unlike the standard Il-86 airliner, the Il-80 has two electrical generator pods mounted inboard of the engine nacelles.[2] Each pod is approximately 9.5 metres (32 feet) long and 1.3 metres (4 feet) in diameter.[2] Both pods include landing lights.[2]

Like the E-4B, the aircraft has a dorsal SATCOM canoe, believed to house advanced satellite communications equipment,[2][3] and a trailing wire antenna mounted in the lower aft fuselage for very low frequency (VLF) radio transmission and reception (likely for communication with ballistic missile submarines).[2][3]


When the present upgrades have reached the end of their life, it is expected that a new airborne command post, based on the Ilyushin Il-96-400M commercial aircraft and delivered as the so-called Doomsday plane, will replace them.[5]


Upon completion, all four Il-80s were delivered to the 8th Special Purposes Aviation Division at the Chkalovsky Airbase near Moscow.[2]

As of 2011 three Il-80s remain in service.[2] They are painted in the current livery of Aeroflot, the Russian state airline; and carry international civilian registrations RA-86147, RA-86148, and RA-86149.[2] The first Il-80, registration RA-86146, has been photographed without engines and is apparently out of service.[2] As of 2011 the Il-80s remain based at Chkalovsky Airbase, located 30 km (19 mi) northeast of Moscow.[2] The aircraft are rarely observed in operation, though at least one was seen at an air show.[2]

In December 2020, Russian media reported that radio communication equipment had been stolen from one of the Il-80s while it was undergoing maintenance.[6][1]



Similar aircraft

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Thieves target Russia's nuclear war 'doomsday' plane". the Guardian. December 8, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "Il-80 / Il-86VKP / Il-87 Maxdome".
  3. ^ a b c d e Taylor, Michael J.H. Brassey's World Aircraft & Systems Directory 1999-2000, 2000. ISBN 1-85753-245-7, pg. 156.
  4. ^ Rendall, David. Jane's Aircraft Recognition Guide, 2nd edition, 1999. ISBN 0-00-472212-4, pg. 154.
  5. ^ "Источник: новый самолет "судного дня" построят на базе Ил-96-400М". TASS Press Release. 2020-10-14. Archived from the original on 2021-08-11. Retrieved 2022-05-13.
  6. ^ "В Ростовской области обокрали "самолет Судного дня"" [A "Doomsday Plane" was robbed in Rostov oblast]. RIA Novosti РИА Новости (in Russian). 2020-12-07. Retrieved 2020-12-08.