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An-22 Antei Cock - Operations

On 6 October 1973, the countries of Egypt and Syria launched an attack on Israel. The Soviet Union took up the task of resupplying the aggressors in this conflict that became known as the Yom Kippur War. President Richard Nixon vowed U.S. help to the Israelis. The Yom Kippur War ended with a cease fire between the warring nations. Operation Nickel Grass sustained Israel and outperformed the Soviets supply effort to Egypt and Syria. Within seven days of the outbreak of hostilities, Soviet AN-12 and AN-22 transports had delivered approximately 5,000 tons of weapons to Egypt and Syria. Soviet transport aircraft (AN-12 and AN-22) moved total of 15,000 tons of cargo, but only had to cover a distance of 1,700 miles.

As Ivanovo housed the An-22 overhaul facility, it also seemed to be the place where the An-22's end their days. By June 1999 Tver still housed some fifteen An-22's. However, their condition was unknown as only the top of the tails were seen above the trees. This meant probably some sixty percent of the entire production had been scrapped by the summer of 1999 and some eighty percent by the Summer of 2001. By the second half of 1999 a few military aircraft have seen their last action in the Tjetsnian war. On April 16th 2000 RA-09344 took off from Krasnodar en flew to Tver. This was the last recorded flight of a Russian Air Force An-22 at that time. However, suddenly in September and October 2001 several An-22's were recorded in Russian airways, in total seven different aircraft flew by this time. It seemed the Putin administration was able to find some funds to keep these gracious birds flying.

In support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Military Sealift Command (MSC) established fueling operations for the U.S. Navy combatants and support ships en route to and from the Persian Gulf in the southern Mediterranean port of Souda Bay, Crete, Greece. Due to the size and configuration of the equipment, very few aircraft were capable of transporting it. After working with several commercial freight forwarders, the only aircraft available in the time frame required was a Russian-built Antonov AN-22 cargo aircraft, which was available through Target Logistics Service of Newport News, VA. Although this specific aircraft did not have landing rights in the United States, it could land in Canada. So a plan was developed to move the equipment through the Toronto airport.

Equipment was repackaged to fit in the AN-22 cargo aircraft, loaded onto four trucks, and transported to Toronto. There, it was loaded onto the aircraft under the supervision of the GPC warehouse manager. The response personnel were already in Souda Bay and waiting for the equipment when it arrived. Additional equipment was sent via MSC as space became available (eventually shipping in January 2004).

Russia grounded the Antonov An-22 and Tupolev Tu-95 aircraft following the crash of an An-22 during a training flight on 28 December 2010. The aircraft came down near Troitskoye in the Tula region, in the southwest of the country. The fact that the Air Force has decided to ground all Tu-95s suggests that engine failure is strongly suspected as the cause - both aircraft types share the Kuznetsov NK-12 turboprop, the largest engine of its kind in the world. "In order to maintain safety in using these aircraft, which both use this engine, the air force command has decided to suspend operations until the reason for the accident is clear," an Air Force spokesman said.

The An-22 departed from Voronezh airport at 21.00 on Tuesday for the Migalovo airport in Tver region but disappeared from radar screens a few minutes after departure. The remains of the aircraft were found near the village of Krasny Oktyabr in Tula region, about 100 km from Tula.

Russia celebrated the 69th anniversary of Victory over Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War with a traditional May 9 military parade on Moscows Red Square in 2014, which featured 11,000 troops, 149 military vehicles and 69 warplanes, to match the number of years passed since the victory over Nazi Germany. This included An-22, An-124-100 and Il- 76MD military transport aircraft.

The An-22 remained the largest turboprop powered aircraft in the world. Despite orders for 100 An-22, only 48 aircraft were actually flying by 1983. Around 45 remained in the Russian Air Force, though most were over 40 years old and were "in storage". The Russian Air Force's six remaining operational An-22 Antei transport aircraft will be overhauled to keep them in service until 2020. The main reason for this is that currently there are not enough An-124 Ruslan available to carry out all necessary flights. Tver/Migalovo [Kalinin (US), Mikhailovo] large military transport base currently houses all of Russia's remaining An-22 fleet.

By one report, the Russian VTA retained only four flying AN-22, a resource which was extended to 35 years. The remaining flightless aircraft stood in the open air at the airport in Tver Migalovo and corrode. Another 19 of them had already been cut for scrap.




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Page last modified: 22-03-2018 18:28:15 ZULU