Russian paramilitary IL-76 aircraft is now registered TL-KPA

An IL-76 cargo aircraft (MSN 0083485561) which very likely is used for paramilitary purposes by Russia recently flew a couple of times between likely Benghazi in Libya and Khmeimim Air Base, Syria. The aircraft was using registration TL-KPA in the flightplan. Based on the hexcode the history of this aircraft can be traced to its former registration TL-KMZ. TL-KMZ was previously registered TL-ART. And this aircraft used to be EW-510TH, a former TransAviaExport aircraft.

While there is no photoproof of the registration the flightplan provided by a very well informed source is for me enough indication this aircraft is now registered TL-KPA.

As can be read in this excellent blogpost by Twitter user Gerjon_ this IL-76 was spotted at various airports in Africa since March 2021. In all countries the aircraft was seen or opperated to Russian paramilitary forces were active.

In March 2021 TL-ART flew from Moscow to likely Benghazi airport or the nearby Al Khadim airbase in Libya. Russia is supporting warlord Khalifa Haftar which controls the western part of Libya. Russia in 2020 sent mercenaries from Syria to Libya.

TL-ART previoulsy registration was Belarus airline Transaviaexport IL-76 EW-510TH.

An IL-76 with exactly the same livery as TL-ART was seen in Bangui Central African Republic (CAR) at least in the period October 2021 to November 16, 2021.Also a satellite photo shows an IL-76 which looks like TL-KMZ parked at Bangui airport at June 12, 2022. A Russian private military contractor named Wagner Group has been active in CAR since 2018. Initialy for training purposes but in end of 2020 Wagner was involved in combat missions.

Optimum Aviation Ltd, a South Sudan cargo airline , claimed to be the operator of the aircraft. A video uploaded to the airline’s Facebook page shows a white IL-76 taxiing at Juba airport in South Sudan.

TL-KPA did several flights between Libya and Khmeimim Air Base in Syria starting end of November 2022.

  • On November 27 Libya to Khmeimim Air Base
  • On November 28 Khmeimim Air Base to Libya
  • On December 2 Libya to Khmeimim Air Base
  • On December 3 Khmeimim Air Base towards Libya
  • On December 4 Libya to Khmeimim Air Base
  • On December 4 after a few hours the aircraft departed Khmeimim Air Base direction Libya

A satellite photo share by plane tracker Gerjon_ on Twitter showed a white IL-76 parked at Khmeimim Air Base

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