First disclosured in 1974, the Soviet Naval Air Arm (AV-MF) used the Il-18 transport as the basis for the considerably changed Il-38, known to NATO by the code-name of “May’. Compared with the transport it has a wing moved forward and a considerably longer rear fuselage, showing the gross shift in centre of gravity resulting from the changed role. The rear fuselage of the Il-38 contains only sensors, sonobuoy launchers of several kinds and a galley, with the main tactical compartment just behind and above the wing, with a probable tactical crew of eight. Most of the heavy stores and consoles are ahead of the wing, together with the search radar stinger, not a heavy it in the tail.
Il-38 has been a standard SovNavAir open-ocean maritime surveillance aircraft since entering service in 1970, with some 60 in inventory mid-1987. NATO code name ‘May’. One of two current service military derivatives of commercial Il-18 (other being Il-20 Coot-A ELINT aircraft ), Il-38 has bays fore and aft of wing for sonobuoys and various attack weapons. Power is provided by four 4,250 ehp AI-20M turboprops. About 60 were believed to be in use by the Soviet naval air force. Three ex-SovNavAir operated by Indian Navy.
Type: maritime patrol and anti-submarine.
Engines: 4 x Ivchenko Al-20 single-shaft turbo-props, 5,000 shp approx.
Wing span 122 ft 8½ in (37.4 m)
Length 129 ft 10 in (39.6 m)
Height about 35 ft (10.7 m)
Empty weight approx 90,000 lb (40,820 kg)
Maximum loadedweight, approx 180,000 lb (81.650 kg)
Maximum speed, about 450 mph (724 km/h)
Maximum cruising speed, about 400 mph (644 km/h)
Range with typical mission load, about 4,500 miles (7240 km)
Endurance, about 15 hr.
Armament: internal weapon bay.