Description: Airborn Command Post Ilyushin Il-80VKP over Moscow-city during the Victory Parade Rehearsal.
The Ilyushin Il-80 (NATO reporting name: "Maxdome") is a Russian airborne command post.
A modified Ilyushin Il-86, the Il-80 (also referred to as the Il-86VKP) is meant to be used as a command center for Russian officials such as the President, in the event of nuclear war. Its role is similar to that of the Boeing E-4B. The Il-80 has no external windows (save those in the cockpit) to shield it from a nuclear blast and electromagnetic pulse. A dorsal dome similar to that of the E-4B is believed to house advanced satellite communications equipment. The aircraft features a trailing wire antenna mounted in the lower aft fuselage for very low frequency (VLF) radio transmission & reception.
The Il-80 was believed to have flown for the first time in the summer of 1985, with the first completed model flying on March 5, 1987. It was first reported publicly by Western observers in 1992. (Photo by Leonid Faerberg / Transport–Photo Images)