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The AN-124 Ruslan heavy transport aircraft is the largest and the heaviest-carrying production airplane in the world. The AN-124-100 commercial variant was developed on its basis and was issued the Type Certificate in 1992. The aircraft is intended for long-distance haulage of heavy and oversized cargoes and various special-purpose equipment. It features a double-deck fuselage layout, the upper deck accommodating the cockpit, relief crew compartment and the cargo attendants' cabin. The lower deck is a pressurized cargo compartment. Design and dimensions of the forward and rear cargo doors closed with ramps ensure quick and easy loading/unloading operations. The airborne cargo handling system allows loading/unloading without the need for ground cargo handling equipment. High rough-field capacity multi-strut landing gear, availability of two APUs, and the mechanized loading enable self-sufficient operation of the aircraft on poorly equipped airfields. Simplicity, reliability and safety of the aircraft operation are ensured by the redundancy and computerization of its systems. 34 computers functioning aboard the aircraft are combined into four main systems: navigation, auto flight, remote control and monitoring.

The aircraft's unique transportation capabilities and high performance have been proved in commercial operation which has opened up a new segment of the market: transportation of oversized and extra-heavy cargoes. The An-124 was used to deliver 90-tonne hydraulic turbines, Liebherr jumbo crane trucks, US Euclid rock haulers, a Tu-204 aircraft fuselage, a 109-tonne locomotive, the General Electric GE90 aircraft engines, Lynx antisubmarine helicopters, a spacecraft in capsule, and other unique cargoes. And the delivery of a 135.2-tonne Siemens electric generator was entered in the Guinness Book of Records as the heaviest cargo item ever carried by air.

In cooperation with serial production plant JS Aviastar (Ulyanovsk, RF) the new modification -124-100 has been created. It includes the main components of the -124-100 programme development:

  • payload increased from 120 t to 150 t;
  • take-off weight increased from 392 t to 420 t;
  • flight range, including flight with cargo of 120 t, increased from 4750 km to 6500 km;
  • aircraft service life increased up to 24000 hours;
  • airborne equipment providing loading-unloading operations of monocargoes up to 40 t weight;
  • digital antiskid braking system and monographite wheel brake disks;
  • reduced crew from 6 to 4 members and increased comfort level of crew rest cabin.

Zaporozhye PROGRESS Engine Design Bureau (Ukraine) has carried out development work to improve reliability, gas-dynamic stability, and service life of the D-18T series 3 engine. Its assigned service life is 12,000 hours at the first stage of operation, and 24,000 hours at the second stage, with the time between overhauls of 6,000 hours. Installation of new avionics supplied by Honeywell (USA), Aviapribor (Russia) and Leninets (Russia) in the above modifications radically changes the look of the cockpit and the crew working conditions, improves flight performance, operating characteristics and economics. Development of a commercial aircraft version, the An-124-210, is also foreseen.

The Antonov state aircraft manufacturing enterprise plans to end cooperation with the Volga-Dnepr airline company (Russia) by the end of this year. The Antonov state aircraft manufacturing enterprises President Oleksandr Kotsuba announced this at a press conference on Wednesday, 7 September, the CFTS reported. "We are current at the stage of divorce. The Antonov state enterprise will have no joint projects with the Volga-Dnepr company by the end of this year. We will operate independently on the market, he said. As reported, Antonov Airlines (controlled by Antonov) and Volga-Dnepr established the company Ruslan International Ltd (Stansted, Britain), which became the marketing agent of the Ukrainian and Russian transport operators, in 2006. Both airlines transport cargoes mainly with An-124-100 Ruslan aircraft. Antonov Airlines and Volga-Dnepr are jointly participating in the Ruslan SALIS program, which involved transportation of cargoes for NATO.

Variants AN-124-100M AN-124-100
Takeoff weight, t 420 392
Maximum lift capacity, t 150 120
Range, km:
- with 150 t of cargo 4,400 -
- with 120 t of cargo 6,540 4,750
- with 80 t of cargo 9,800 7,900
- with 40 t of cargo 13,200 11,400
- with maximum fuel 15,500 15,000
Flight speed, km/h 800-850 800-850
Flight altitude, m 9,000-12,000 9,100-11,600
- type D-18T 4 ser. turbofan D-18T 3 ser. turbofan
- number x thrust kN 4 x 249 4 x 224
Runway length, m 2,800 2,800
Required runway durability PCN R/B 52 PCN R/B 48
Manpower of maintenance and overhaul, manhours/flight hour 16.5 16.5
Cargo compartment dimensions, m:
- floor length (with the ramps) 36.5 (43.7) 36.5 (43.7)
- width (at floor) 6.4 6.4
- height 4.4 4.4
Cargo compartment volume, m3 1,160 1,160
Crew, prs. 4 6

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Page last modified: 11-09-2016 19:12:10 ZULU