Developed as a high capacity long-range airliner for use on Aeroflot's buslest routes, the Ilyushin IL-18 four-turboprop airliner first flew on 4th July 1957. This Sovlet equivalent of the Lockheed Electra eventually proved to be extremely successful. The IL-18 was supplied to many 'friendly nations' in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean. Its uses included passenger and cargo carriage, VIP transportation, support of Soviet research stations in Antarctica, electronic espionage and various research and development programmes, civil as well as military. All the principal commercial versions are described, as are many test and development aircraft. Separate chapters are dedicated to aircraft in the IL-18 family which bore separate designations, such as the IL-20M ELINT, the IL-20RT space tracker, the IL-22 airborne command post, the IL-24N Ice reconnaissance aircraft used to support commercial shipping operations in the Arctic regions and the IL-38 anti-submarine warfare aircraft.
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