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The Antonov An-124 Ruslan

Country of origin  
Ukraine

Photos  

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Photo © Chi-Ping Chih

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Photo © Dmitry Avdeev
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Photo © Lars Wahlstrom
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Powerplants  
An-124 - Four 229.5kN (51,590lb) ZMKB Progress (Lotarev) D18T turbofans.

Performance  
An-124 - Max cruising speed 865km/h (468kt), typical cruising speeds between 800 and 850km/h (430 to 460kt). Range with max payload 4500km (2430nm), range with full fuel load 16,500km (8900nm).

Weights  
An-124 - Operating empty 175,000kg (385,800lb), max takeoff 405,000kg (892,875lb).

Dimensions  
Wing span 73.30m (240ft 6in), length 69.10m (226ft 9in), height 20.78m (68ft 2in). Wing area 628.0m2 (6760sq ft).

Capacity  
Flightcrew of six consisting of two pilots, two flight engineers, navigator and communications operator. Upper deck behind the flightdeck area features a galley, rest room and two relief crew cabins. Upper deck area behind the wing can accommodate up to 88 passengers. Main deck cargo compartment can carry a range of bulky and oversized cargos. The An-124's total payload in weight is 150 tonnes (330,695lb).

Production  
About 60 An-124s have been built, of which 25 were in commercial use in 2000. Some western based freight operators utilise An-124s leased from Antonov for freight charters.

Type  
Heavylift freighter

History  

For a time the massive An-124 held the mantle of the world's largest aircraft before the arrival of the An-225, a stretched six engine derivative. It is commonly used for oversize freight charters.

Developed primarily as a strategic military freighter (in which role it can carry missile units and main battle tanks), the first prototype An-124 flew on December 26 1982. A second prototype, named Ruslan (after a Russian folk hero), made the type's first western public appearance at the Paris Airshow in June 1985, preceding the type's first commercial operations in January 1986. Since that time the An-124 has set a wide range of payload records, a recent achievement being the heaviest single load ever transported by air - a 124 tonne (273,400lb) powerplant generator and its associated weight spreading cradle, a total payload weight of 132.4 tonnes (291,940lb), set in late 1993.

Notable features include nose and tail cargo doors, 24 wheel undercarriage allowing operations from semi prepared strips, the ability to kneel to allow easier front loading, and flybywire control system.

The two major An-124 variants are the basic An-124 and similar Russian civil certificated An-124-100. Various upgrades have been proposed, including the western avionics equipped An-124-100M built in prototype form but not flown, the three crew EFIS flighdeck equipped An-124-102 and the An-124FFF firebomber.

Numerous reengine studies have also been conducted, including using Rolls-Royce RB-211-524Gs, General Electric CF680s (as the An-124-130) and even Aviadvigatel NK93 propfans.

The An-225 Mryia is based on the An-124 but features six (instead of four) D18T turbofans, a stretched fuselage and a 600 tonne (1,322,750lb) max takeoff weight. One was built, intended as a transport for the Russian Buran Space Shuttle equivalent. First flight was in 1988.

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The backbone of this section is from the The International Directory of Civil Aircraft by Gerard Frawley and used with permission. To get your own copy of the book click here.