Role: Heavy Airlifter
National Origin: Soviet Union
Primary users: Russian Air Force, Antonov Air Lines, Volger Denpar
Speed: 909 kph, 491 knots, 565 mph
The Antonov 124 Ruslan (NATO reporting name: Condor) is a large strategic airlifter. Unlike its American equivalents, the An-124 is not restricted to military use. The aircraft is used by many different air forces as well as airlines such as Libyan Arab Air cargo. (It is unknown if their two planes was destroyed in the civil war.) Its first flight was 26 December 1982.
- 1 Design and Development
- 2 Operational history
- 3 Variants
- 4 Operators
- 5 Notable accidents
- 6 Specifications
- 7 Related development
- 8 References
Design and Development[edit | edit source]
The An 124 is manufactured in two differant plants.
Series production ceased with the breakup of the Soviet Union. The last five unfinished air frames left from the Soviet times were completed in 2001 (1), 2002 (1), and 2004 (3).
Externally, the An-124 is similar to the American Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, but has a 22% larger payload over the non war time payload of the original C-5A/B, but only 16% more than the current C-5M Super Galaxy. Instead of the Galaxy's T-tail, the An-124 uses a conventional empennage, similar in design to that of the Boeing 747 . The An-124 has been used to carry locomotives, yachts, aircraft fuselages, and a variety of other oversized cargoes. The airlift is able to kneel to allow easier front loading. Up to 150 tonnes of cargo can be carried in a military An-124; it can also carry 88 passengers in an upper deck behind the wing center section. The cargo compartment of An-124 is 36 m x 6.4 m x 4.4 m, ca. 20% larger than the main cargo compartment of C-5 Galaxy, which is 36.91 m x 5.79 m x 4.09 m. However, due to limited pressurization in the main cargo compartment (3.57 psi), it seldom carries paratroopers.
It has an on-board overhead crane capable of lifting up to 30 tons of cargo, and items up to 120 tons can be winched on board. Some planes have a limit of 20 tons for the crane.
Since the type was initially designed for only occasional military use, original An-124s were built with a projected service life of 7,500 flight hours with possibility for extension. However many airframes have flown more than 15,000 flight hours. In response to complaints by commercial users, the An-124-100 version has been built since 2000 with an improved service life of 24,000 hours. Older airframes are being upgraded to this standard. Additional retrofitting is being performed to extend its service life to 40,000 flight hours. The Kyiv Aviation Plant AVIANT offers upgrades to the Аn-124-100М-150 version.
Russia and Ukraine agreed to resume the production in the third quarter of 2008. In May 2008 it was reported that a new variant, to be known as the An-124-150, would have several improvements including a maximum lift capacity of 150 tonnes. However, in May 2009, Antonov's partner, United Aircraft Corporation announced it did not plan production of An-124s in the period 2009–2012. In late 2009, it was reported that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered production of the aircraft resumed. It is expected that Russia will purchase 20 new aircraft.
Operational history[edit | edit source]
Germany led the recent effort to lease An-124s for NATO strategic airlift requirements. Two aircraft are leased from SALIS GmbH as a stopgap until the Airbus A400M is available. Under NATO SALIS programme NAMSA is chartering six An-124-100 transport aircraft. According to the contract An-124-100s of Antonov Airlines and Volga-Dnepr are used within the limits of NATO SALIS programme to transport cargo by requests of 18 countries: Belgium, Hungary, Greece, Denmark, Canada, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, United Kingdom, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Finland, France, Germany, Czech Republic and Sweden. Two An-124-100s are constantly based on full-time charter in the airport of Leipzig/Halle, but in case of necessity two more aircraft are to be provided on six days notice and another two on nine days notice. The current contract is valid until 31 December 2010. The aircraft proved extremely useful for NATO especially with ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Russian cargo company Volga-Dnepr has contracts with Boeing to ship outsize aircraft components to their Everett plant. The An-124 is used for airlifting (in fully assembled form) the massive General Electric GE90 turbofan engines used on the Boeing 777 airliner. Rolls-Royce also contracts the Antonov An-124 to transport the Trent family engines to and from their test facilities worldwide.
United Launch Alliance contracts the An-124 to transport the Atlas V launch vehicle from its facilities in Decatur, Alabama to Cape Canaveral. Two flights are required to transfer each launch vehicle (one for the Atlas V main booster stage and another for the Centaur upper stage). It is also contracted by Space Systems Loral to transport satellites from Palo Alto, CA to the Arianespace spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
Airbus Transport International, a subsidiary of Airbus, has selected another Russian cargo company, Polet Airlines as "designated carrier" to the company. Polet expects its three An-124-100s will transport astronautic equipment manufactured by EADS, which is Airbus' parent company, and full-size components of a model of the Airbus A380 superjumbo. As the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 is the only A380 engine that can be transported whole in a Boeing 747F, the competing Engine Alliance GP7200 needs a larger aircraft, like the An-124, if it is to be shipped in one piece.
Significant activities[edit | edit source]
- On May 1987, an An-124 came close to setting a world record, covering the distance of 20,151 km (10,881 nmi) without refuelling. The flight took 25 hours and 30 minutes; the takeoff weight was 455,000 kg. The previous record was first set by a Boeing B-52H Stratofortress (18,245 km) in December 1960, and 2 years later surpassed that with a current world's record in January 1962 of 12,532.28 miles (10,895 nmi, 20,177 km).
- In July 1985, an An-124 carried 171,219 kg (377,473 lb) of cargo to an altitude of 2,000 m and 170,000 kg to an altitude of 10,750 m (35,270 ft).
- An An-124 was used to transport the Obelisk of Axum back to its native homeland of Ethiopia from Rome in April 2005. The shipment was made in three trips, each carrying a third of the monument's 160 tons and 24-metre (78 ft) length. The airstrip at Axum was modified to accommodate such a large aircraft.
- An An-124 was used to transport an EP-3E Aries II electronic intelligence aircraft from Hainan Island, China on 4 July 2001 during the Hainan Island incident.
- An An-124 transported the first of IÉ's new 201 Class (JT42HCW) locomotives from Canada to Ireland in June 1994.
- A Volga-Dnepr An-124 delivered a whale from Nice (France) to Japan; another flight was to deliver an elephant from Moscow to Taiwan.
- An-124s provided by Ruslan International, a specialist transport company based at Stansted UK, have been used on several occasions by BAE Systems to transport airframes as part of their Nimrod refurbishment programme.
- An An-124 was used in the James Bond film Die Another Day, though the interior shots appear to be that of an Ilyushin Il-76.
- An An-124 was used in April 2011 to airlift a large concrete pump from Germany to Japan to help cool reactors damaged in the Fukushima nuclear accident. The An-225 was used to transport an even larger pump to Japan from the United States.
Variants[edit | edit source]
- Strategic heavy airlift transport aircraft
- Commercial transport aircraft
- Commercial transport version fitted with Western avionics
- Commercial transport version with an EFIS flight deck
- Proposed version
- Variant with one seat in the rear and the rest of the cargo area (approx. 1,800 square feet) dedicated to freight
- New variant with several new features
- Proposed version with General Electric CF6-80C2 engines, each rated at 59,200 lbf (263 kN)
- Joint proposal with Air Foyle to meet UK's Short Term Strategic Airlifter (STSA) requirement, with Rolls-Royce RB211-524H-T engines, each rated 60,600 lbf (264 kN) and Honeywell avionics—STSA competition abandoned in August 1999, reinstated, and won by the Boeing C-17A.
|Maximum Payload||120 tonnes||150 tonnes|
|Range||4,600 km||5,200 km|
|Service Life||24,000 hours||50,000 hours|
Operators[edit | edit source]
Military[edit | edit source]
- Russian Air Force (25) - 61st Air Army?
Former military operators[edit | edit source]
- Soviet Union
- Soviet Air Force
Civil[edit | edit source]
In September 2009 a total of 28 Antonov An-124 aircraft remain in airline service, with a further 10 firm orders.
- Libyan Arab Air Cargo (2)
- Volga-Dnepr (10)+ 5 on order.
- Polet Airlines (8)+ 5 on order.
- Antonov Airlines (7)
- United Arab Emirates
- Maximus Air Cargo (1)
Former civil operators[edit | edit source]
- Aeroflot Russian International Airlines
- Russian State Transport Company
- Transaero Airlines
- Soviet Union
- Aeroflot Soviet Airlines
- United Kingdom
- Air Foyle (in partnership with Antonov Design Bureau)
- HeavyLift Cargo Airlines (in partnership with Volga-Dnepr Airlines)
- Antonov AirTrack
- Titan Cargo
- TransCharter Titan Cargo
Notable accidents[edit | edit source]
As of 2011, four An-124 hull-loss accidents have been recorded, with a total of 97 fatalities:
- On 13 October 1992, SSSR-82002, operated by Antonov Airlines crashed near Kiev, Ukraine during flight testing. 8 fatalities.
- On 15 November 1993, RA-82071, operated by Aviastar Airlines crashed into a mountain at 11,000 feet (3,400 m) while in a holding pattern at Kerman, Iran. 17 fatalities.
- On 8 October 1996, RA-82069, owned by Aeroflot but operated by Ajax, crashed at San Francesco al Campo, Italy, during a go-around. 4 fatalities.
- On 6 December 1997, RA-82005, operated by the Russian Air Force, crashed in a residential area after take-off in Irkutsk, Russia. All 23 people on-board and 44 people on the ground were killed.
Specifications[edit | edit source]
Data from antonov.com
- Crew: 6
- Capacity: 88 passengers or the hold can take an additional 350 on a palletised seating system
- Payload: 150,000 kg (330,000 lb)
- Length: 68.96 m (226 ft 3 in)
- Wingspan: 73.3 m (240 ft 5 in)
- Height: 20.78 m (68 ft 2 in)
- Wing area: 628 m² (6,760 sq ft)
- Empty weight: 175,000 kg (385,000 lb)
- Loaded weight: 405,000 kg (893,000 lb)
- Useful load: 230,000 kg (508,000 lb)
- Max takeoff weight: 405,000 kg (893,000 lb)
- Powerplant: 4 ×Ivchenko Progress D-18T turbofans, 229.5 kN (51,600 lbf) each
- Maximum speed: 865 km/h (467 kn (537 mph))
- Cruise speed: 800–850 km/h (430 kn (490 mph))
- Range: 5,400 km (2,900 nm, 3,360 mi (5,410 km))
- Service ceiling: 12,000 m (35,000 ft)
- Wing loading: 365 kg/m² (74.7 lb/sq ft)
- Thrust/weight: 0.23
Flight range[edit | edit source]
- 0 tons of cargo = 15,000 km (8,100 nmi)
- 10 tons of cargo = 14,100 km (7,613 nmi)
- 20 tons of cargo = 13,250 km (7,154 nmi)
- 30 tons of cargo = 12,300 km (6,641 nmi)
- 40 tons of cargo = 11,500 km (6,210 nmi)
- 72 tons of cargo = 8,700 km (4,698 nmi)
- 90 tons of cargo = 7,100 km (3,834 nmi)
- 97 tons of cargo = 6,500 km (3,510 nmi)
- 104 tons of cargo = 5,900 km (3,186 nmi)
- 108 tons of cargo = 5,550 km (2,997 nmi)
- 120 tons of cargo = 4,500 km (2,430 nmi)
- 122 tons of cargo = 4,300 km (2,322 nmi)
- 40 tons of cargo = 11,900 km (6,425 nmi)
- 92 tons of cargo = 7,500 km (4,050 nmi)
- 113 tons of cargo = 5,900 km (3,186 nmi)
- 120 tons of cargo = 5,400 km (2,916 nmi)
- 122 tons of cargo = 5,200 km (2,808 nmi)
- 150 tons of cargo = 3,200 km (1,728 nmi)
Related development[edit | edit source]
- Comparable aircraft