Because India is buying 10 new Strategic Aircraft, I decided to look at what it was upgrading or replacing. Looking at different sources, I kept finding different numbers when I looked at how many IL-76s the IAF actually operated, how many had been retired, grounded etc. The numbers varied between 17 and 30.
So I went though pictures that are available on the Internet and noted tail numbers.
I found a total of 16, although I did not find any recent pictures of K2666 and K3000. They could be the two that were converted to other use that I read about somewhere. I also found documented evidence of a 17th, K3078, but found no picture of it. K3078 would be the youngest of the fleet according to serial numbers.
K2661, built in 1984, which is probably the oldest Il-76 on IAF inventory, is still very much active, I found recent pictures of it in the air. The youngest Il-76 was probably built around 1989 or 1990 (I am not talking here about the IL-78 or the A-50s which are of course younger).
On another subject, this article http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/History/Siachen/1045-Bewoor.html
by Gp Capt Anant Bewoor VM (Retd) informs us that IL-76 were used to land at Thoise back in 1988, when the runway length was 6050 feet at this 10,000 foot elevation runway, and they did this with 34 tonnes of cargo on board. The picture that accompanies the article shows an An-32 and an Il-76 parked side-by-side on what seems to be a gravel tarmac. The runway is now a 10,000 foot long paved runway. Does anyone know if in 1988, that runway was paved, or gravel ?
If it was, we have documented proof that the Il-76 can land on a 6000 foot long gravel runway, located at 10,000 MSL with a 34 tonne payload. Not bad at all if one asks me.