NATO Designation "Condor"
|Entered service in||1987|
|Dimensions and weight|
|Wing span||73.30 m|
|Weight (empty)||175 t|
|Maximum take off weight||405 t|
|Engines||4 x ZMKB Progress D-18T turbofan engines|
|Traction||4 x 229.47 kN|
|Maximum cruising speed||865 km/h|
|Service ceiling||12 000 m|
|Flying range with maximum payload||4 500 km|
|Flying range with 40 t payload||12 000 km|
|Ferry range||16 090 km|
|Maximum payload||150 t|
|Passengers||88 + 350|
Designed by Antonov Aircraft
Bureau the An-124 "Ruslan" is a long range heavy transport
aircraft. Only a small number of the 54
Antonov An-124 "Ruslan" aircraft delivered by the late 1995 are
assigned directly to the air transport arm of the Russian air forces, but
there is provision for most if not all civil-registered aircraft to be
called into military service.
Named after Pushkin's legendary giant, the An-124 is in many respects comparable to the slightly smaller C-5 Galaxy. The An-124 remains the world's largest production aircraft, with only one-off six-engined An-225 being bigger, and it has a set of world records. Designed to meet a requirements issued by Aeroflot and the Soviet air forces for a long-range heavy transport to replace the turboprop-powered An-22 "Antei", the An-124 first flew on 26 December 1982. The type entered service with the Soviet air forces in 1987.
The aircraft has an upward-hinging "visor-type" nose (with a folding nose ramp) and an enormous set of rear loading doors (with a three part folding ramp). The vast cargo hold has a titanium floor with roller gangs and retractable cargo tie-down points. 24-wheel chassis allows to operate aircraft from poor condition airfields, snow bounded territories. For ease of loading the aircraft can be made to "kneel" in a nose-down position by retracting the nose wheels and supporting the nose on retractable feet.
It is only lightly pressurized although there is a fully pressurized upper passenger deck for up to 88 passengers accompanying the equipment and cargo. Because of this aircraft cannot transport passengers in the main cargo compartment except at low altitude.
Equipped with a fly-by-wire controls, the An-124 has a supercritical wing, and makes extensive use of composite materials for weight saving. Other electronic equipment includes meteorological radiolocation station and navigation radar. It is also completed with a soviet global positioning system. Aircraft carries no armament.
It is capable of carrying virtual any load, including virtually all Russian armored fighting vehicles, helicopters and other military cargo. In one trip An-124 is capable of airlifting up to four Mi-8, Ka-27, Ka-32 helicopters or up to three MiG-29 or Su-25 aircraft. Aircraft is also used to paradrop on airdrop platforms such combat equipment as infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers, armored reconnaissance vehicles. Their combat crews are paradropped in two flows via the rear cargo doors, on dropping the last cargo. Furthermore An-124 navigation system provides aimed paradropring.
An An-124-100M version of the An-124 with Western avionics, and an An-124-102 with electronic flight instrumentation system flight deck and three-person crew, have also been offered to potential customers. Various other modifications, including the installation of Western engines, have also been proposed. Nevertheless, Russia remains the only military operator of the "Ruslan".