Press Release 2001/1…Press Release 2001/1…Press Release 2001/1


Global Emergency Response is the unique commercial alliance of:

Bringing together an operation seeking to deploy internationally the largest and demonstrably most potent and effective fire-fighting aircraft in the world:

Photo: courtesy of El Centro de Entrenamiento de Bomberos Profesionales de Peru

The Ilyushin 76TD "waterbomber" (Il-76)

"the extreme machine"



Global Emergency Response – Chief Administrator – Tom Robinson

Global Emergency Response – Ibero-American Representative – Jose Musse

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Il-76 Technical Detail


The Il-76, unlike all other fire-fighting aircraft in current use, is a turbo-fan jet. Primarily, it is a heavy-lift aircraft widely in use globally in civilian, military and disaster mitigation operations. The 11,000-US gallon (42,000-litre) VAP2 twin tanking system with gravity release makes the aircraft ideally suited to combating large forest fires and severe oil spill dispersal.

The military requirement characteristics ensure it has suitability for battlefield conditions, with short take off/land capabilities even on unimproved grass strips. A 20-wheel undercarriage gives the aircraft a tremendously "light footprint". Recommended runway length is 6000 feet (1850 meters), absolute only when the aircraft is fully laden with fuel and payload (a full 11,000-gallon payload would be substantially less than maximum).

The range of the aircraft is 3000+ miles (5000 kilometers) with a cruising speed of 500mph (800kph or 430 knots). In drop mode the Il-76 travels at 300 feet (90 meters) above ground level at a speed of 175mph (280kph or 151 knots). This drop speed is exactly the same speed as all other waterbomber, fire-fighting aircraft; the height above ground is marginally greater, giving increased safety, whilst not compromising load dispersion. Liquids descend vertically, as rain, ensuring even penetration of forest canopy and optimal effect on forest floor.

The dual tanking system gives the opportunity to release the payload in either consecutive or simultaneous mode. In a consecutive mode the aircraft would release the 11,000-gallon payload over an area 3950 feet (1.2 kilometers) by 295 feet (90 meters). For greater potency, the simultaneous mode releases a full payload over an area 1800 feet (550 meters) by 325 feet (100 meters). A drop pass will release a full payload in one 8–10 second pass with water, or a 15-20 second pass with retardant additive. The Il-76 can be loaded with a full payload in 15 minutes ready for take-off. Monsanto Phos-Chek WD 881 is certified for use with the Il-76, other retardant additives are suitable for certification. A new tanking system currently in development by Ilyushin Aviation will give a higher payload of 15,000 gallons and a variable release.

The aircraft is equipped with heat-seeking devices and associated computer-driven fire data simulations providing assistance with aiming the drop for maximum effect on mass fire.

Leading edge wing designs and special flaps together with high-lift devices and thrust reversers on each of the four very powerful engines allow for low, slow flight, and safe landings on remote, rough and generally shorter runways.  These are ideal features for remote drop missions of any kind including, for example, dropping relief supplies bundles, pre-fabricated hospitals, oil spill containment equipment, and the like.

This emergency response service aircraft comes complete with a fully experienced, qualified and certified EMERCOM crew of eight, ground fire-fighting crew if required, spares for fix-and-fly servicing and full pumping equipment for tank filling.

Such capabilities give this remarkable aircraft considerable advantages over the other great fire-fighting aircraft. The Martin Mars is capable of releasing 7200 gallons, and is reputed to have never lost a fire, but only 2 aircraft are left in existence. The C-130 Hercules, more regularly in use in fire fighting, has a capacity of 3000 gallons. Both of these aircraft, indeed all other fire-fighting planes are of turbo-prop propulsion.

With many other fire-fighting planes being of 1950s technology, and with no new large-volume waterbombing capability aircraft currently on the drawing board, or modern comparative aircraft suitable for conversion, the future of large fire mitigation is the Ilyushin 76TD "waterbomber". Essentially, this service is a stand alone, fully integrated service for combating large forest and wildland fire, as well as a range of other disaster and emergency response missions.

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"The future of large wildfire mitigation is the Ilyushin 76TD Waterbomber" Tom Robinson


January 2001