The first flight of the aircraft took place in the year 1967, development began six years earlier. The head developer was Sergey Ilyushin. In comparison to other Il-18 variants, the aircraft’s fuselage was 4 m longer and the wings were moved 1.8 m forward, to balance the new centre of gravity, caused by more electronics and systems. Through technical problems with the plane’s avionics, service entry with the Soviet Naval Aviation was delayed to the year 1970. In the year 1977, three Il-38s were exported to India and in 1983, two additional followed. Unfortunately, two aircraft collided during a formation flight over Goa airport and all crewmembers died. The two lost aircraft were replaced by two modernized Il-38SD. Instead of the old Berkut-radar, the new aircraft were equipped with a Morskoy Smey radar, as well as with anti-ship missiles.
The Il-38 is expected to remain in service until the year 2020, after being modernized to Il-38N status.#