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TropicBird
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Usaf Chartering An-124 & IL76 Aircraft?

Sat Jul 25, 2009 6:41 pm

I have been told the USAF has been chartering An-124 and IL76 aircraft for a number of years and the amount grows each year. Now someone showed me a recent press release where Volga-Dnepr demands to be first in line for flying DOD equipment to and from Afghanistan (over Russian airspace) using the An-124.

Quote:
MOSCOW, July 16 (RIA Novosti) - The Volga-Dnepr Group, Russia's largest heavy air freight carrier, is planning to take part in the transit of U.S. military supplies to Afghanistan, the company said on Thursday. Russia and the United States signed during U.S. President Barack Obama's first visit to Russia on July 6-9 an agreement on U.S. military transit, both overland and by air, via Russian territory to Afghanistan.

"Several carriers have already lined up for the transit of U.S. cargoes to Afghanistan, and we are the first in this line," said Valery Gabriel, the company's executive director.
The official said Washington had been advised to choose a Russian cargo carrier through a tender.

"We are optimistic about this project because we have been involved in air cargo transit via Russian territory before, including heavy-lift transport missions carried out by An-124-100 planes," Gabriel said. "We believe that our participation in the [U.S. military] transit is absolutely necessary," he added.

Anyone here know why do we have been using them before this? Is it a shortage of USAF pilots, aircraft, etc?

[Edited 2009-07-25 11:42:11]
 
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Spacepope
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RE: Usaf Chartering An-124 & IL76 Aircraft?

Sat Jul 25, 2009 7:54 pm

The DoD has been chartering them fairly heavily out of Charleston moving the new MRAP vehicles into Iraq and Afghanistan as quickly as possible. The've also used them recently to ferry the Navy's "new" F-5s from Switzerland to California, as well as moving Apaches around.

It's probably cheaper to charter these aircraft, and the CANDID and CONDOR fleets are about the only game in town when it comes to oversize jet airlift.

It doesn't hurt to save the hours on your fleet either. I don't know how many hours got piled on the C-141s back during Desert Shield/Storm.
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ebj1248650
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RE: Usaf Chartering An-124 & IL76 Aircraft?

Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:07 pm



Quoting TropicBird (Thread starter):
Russia and the United States signed during U.S. President Barack Obama's first visit to Russia on July 6-9 an agreement on U.S. military transit, both overland and by air, via Russian territory to Afghanistan.

This appears to anwer it. If you want to fly over Russia with an airplane carrying US goods to Afghanistan, better to do it utilizing a Russian airplane. It's a diplomatic thing; an effort to strengthen ties with Russia instead of antagonizing them.
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TropicBird
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RE: Usaf Chartering An-124 & IL76 Aircraft?

Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:54 pm



Quoting EBJ1248650 (Reply 2):
This appears to anwer it. If you want to fly over Russia with an airplane carrying US goods to Afghanistan, better to do it utilizing a Russian airplane. It's a diplomatic thing; an effort to strengthen ties with Russia instead of antagonizing them.

These charters have been going on for years. Many of them don't even involve Afghanistan or overflights of Russia.
 
Flighty
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RE: Usaf Chartering An-124 & IL76 Aircraft?

Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:15 am



Quoting TropicBird (Reply 3):

These charters have been going on for years.

Yup, and it is a win-win. Pleases the Russians while giving some lift at a reasonable (I assume) cost. Compared to the USAF cargo fleets, any vendor will be cheaper. You don't see FedEx buying C-17s because they are very expensive for their job.

Used MD-11, 747F, or Russian jobs will all be cheaper for the bulk freight of the DoD. This is best done through the private sector. I would like to hear more about the freight tonnage going into these fields if anyone has that info. It must be quite a lot.
 
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par13del
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RE: Usaf Chartering An-124 & IL76 Aircraft?

Thu Jul 30, 2009 1:14 pm



Quoting TropicBird (Reply 3):
These charters have been going on for years. Many of them don't even involve Afghanistan or overflights of Russia.

Thats the reason why the Air Force never needed additional C-17's, the new agreement provides cover for the Air Force in case some cynical politician decides to throw this back in the face of the Air Force who so adamantly opposed additional purchases to keep the production line going, its all politics, the only constant is the tax payors money  Smile
 
TropicBird
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RE: Usaf Chartering An-124 & IL76 Aircraft?

Sat Aug 08, 2009 6:22 pm

More evidence of why this is a bad idea. Here is an excerpt from an article linked below.

Quote:
While the air service companies are private corporations, experts say they almost certainly operate with Kremlin oversight.

"At the very least, there is an acquiescence," said Galeotti, a military and organized crime expert at New York University.

Indeed, there appears to be a quid pro quo. Just days after Russia agreed to allow the U.S. to transship lethal Afghanistan-bound cargo via Russian territory, Russian cargo company Volga-Dnepr -- which already has contracts with the U.S. military -- said it was in the lead running for a U.S. tender to fly supplies to Afghanistan.

RIA-Novosti news agency quoted chief executive Valery Gabriel as saying Washington had been advised to choose a Russian carrier for this critical service.

For the Kremlin, Russian carriers mean a degree of control over these shipments. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia reserves the right to inspect all cargo flown across its territories.

For the carriers, the work means millions in revenue. The U.S. Transport Command said it has awarded Volga-Dnepr and another Russian company, Polet, $400 million in contracts up to September 2009 in the past year.

"Russia is delighted to be involved," said Galeotti. "One, it's big business. Secondly, they are very keen for allied forces to be increasingly dependent on supply lines through Russia."

He added that Russia's GRU, its military intelligence arm -- believed to have close links with several Russian companies operating in Afghanistan -- may also stand to benefit.

"From a GRU standpoint, you have an extremely useful source -- low-level but extremely useful intelligence," he said.

http://www.salon.com/wires/ap/world/...hanistan_russian_planes/index.html
 
9VSIO
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RE: Usaf Chartering An-124 & IL76 Aircraft?

Sat Aug 08, 2009 7:14 pm

Because the GRU might get to look at standard US military equipment? Do you really believe that super sensitive materials would be transported via civilian contractors?

As had been mentioned above, all of this has been going on for years!
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Stitch
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RE: Usaf Chartering An-124 & IL76 Aircraft?

Sat Aug 08, 2009 8:15 pm

Heck considering how well the KGB penetrated us, I expect the GRU would be able to tell our folks something about the equipment.  Silly
 
TropicBird
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RE: Usaf Chartering An-124 & IL76 Aircraft?

Sat Aug 08, 2009 9:03 pm

Why are we making ourselves dependent on a country which can quickly cut us off?

Quote:
Secondly, they are very keen for allied forces to be increasingly dependent on supply lines through Russia."

Yes it has been going on for some time and it is also growing in size & scope. I hope those who think this is ok are a minority. When I have shared this with others, the reactions I have witnessed has been surprise and anger.
 
Kiwirob
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RE: Usaf Chartering An-124 & IL76 Aircraft?

Sat Aug 08, 2009 9:53 pm



Quoting Flighty (Reply 4):
You don't see FedEx buying C-17s because they are very expensive for their job.

Why is the C17 so expensive, surely if you started building commercial freight versions the per unit cost would drop, they have already build a 200 or so, developements costs must have been covered by now.
 
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par13del
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RE: Usaf Chartering An-124 & IL76 Aircraft?

Sat Aug 08, 2009 10:11 pm



Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 10):
Why is the C17 so expensive, surely if you started building commercial freight versions the per unit cost would drop, they have already build a 200 or so, developements costs must have been covered by now.

The per unit cost would drop but more importantly, the revenue per a/c why do that when you have a captive market / consumer who pays for everything, design, development, production, profit. Boeing is not going to loose any money on this a/c whether they close the line or not.
 
TropicBird
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RE: Usaf Chartering An-124 & IL76 Aircraft?

Sat Aug 08, 2009 10:23 pm

The C-17 was developed using US Government money. Any development of a commercial version would certainly lead to complications in pending and future WTO challenges.
 
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Devilfish
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RE: Usaf Chartering An-124 & IL76 Aircraft?

Sun Aug 09, 2009 12:47 am



Quoting TropicBird (Reply 9):

Yes it has been going on for some time and it is also growing in size & scope.

Fortunately, nothing yet that would require (was there?) this.....

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WrenchBender
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RE: Usaf Chartering An-124 & IL76 Aircraft?

Sun Aug 09, 2009 1:58 pm



Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 13):
Fortunately, nothing yet that would require (was there?) this.....

Yes it has been used to OAKN, on several occasions.

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Stitch
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RE: Usaf Chartering An-124 & IL76 Aircraft?

Sun Aug 09, 2009 2:57 pm



Quoting TropicBird (Reply 12):
The C-17 was developed using US Government money. Any development of a commercial version would certainly lead to complications in pending and future WTO challenges.

Considering how the EU has argued that Boeing benefits from DoD programs, such a conversion likely would be covered under the 1992 agreement (even if the US has since unilaterally withdrawn from it).

As for the BC-17, it's not just the cost per frame, but the operating costs. Even when you strip out the military systems, you're still left with the legacy military design philosophy. And that design philosophy results in an aircraft more robust and maintenance-intensive than a purely commercial aircraft would need.

Heavy cargo operators also depend on heavy utilization rates, which the BC-17 likely wouldn't be able to meet due to that lower maintenance threshold. So you'd need more planes to ensure you always had one ready when needed. And then how much out-sized cargo would need to be shipped? Freighters only make money when they're moving freight. A BC-17 parked either because it needs maintenance or has nothing to carry won't be making much money.

Of course, the BC-17 is hardly unique in this. It's why attempts to offer commercial freighters of other DOD designers like the L-500 (C5) and the C-141 SuperstarLifter (which Flying Tigers actually ordered two, as did another carrier [Slick]). Only the L-100 (C-130) made it to market, and it garnered a grand total of 114 sales.
 
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LAXintl
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RE: Usaf Chartering An-124 & IL76 Aircraft?

Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:46 am

I agree with Stitch, the BC-17 would be a terrible commercial aircraft from an economic point of view.

I participated in several sales pitches(on the receiving end) from Boeing for prospective commercial sales.

The models primary handicap is a very high up front purchase cost. (more then a 744F at the time). Then add in operational issues such inability for cross the Atlantic with a full payload without a tech-stop (AF refuels them enroute), a heavy and overbuilt airframe, a unique and costly spares inventory, etc.

Put all these together and add in the commercial reality that there is only a finite amount of global outsize cargo, I doubt there is a single commercial carrier that can make the ROI business case work.

I believe one would have an easier more fruitful venture with a fleet of reengined Russian IL-76s over a single BC-17.
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ThePointblank
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RE: Usaf Chartering An-124 & IL76 Aircraft?

Mon Aug 10, 2009 3:33 am



Quoting 9VSIO (Reply 7):
Because the GRU might get to look at standard US military equipment? Do you really believe that super sensitive materials would be transported via civilian contractors?

As had been mentioned above, all of this has been going on for years!

Not only that, many of the Il-76 and An-124 operator's are fairly sketchy in terms of safety; in Canada, there has been a number of instances where Il-76's that were chartered had safety violations, such as excessive icing on the wings (the pilots refused to de-ice until we forced them to). There was also a instance a while back where a Il-76 took out a couple of trees while landing and not reporting that they had impacted some trees, and of course, an instance where one took out the airport perimeter fence.
 
Flighty
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RE: Usaf Chartering An-124 & IL76 Aircraft?

Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:11 pm



Quoting LAXintl (Reply 16):
The models primary handicap is a very high up front purchase cost. (more then a 744F at the time). Then add in operational issues such inability for cross the Atlantic with a full payload without a tech-stop (AF refuels them enroute), a heavy and overbuilt airframe, a unique and costly spares inventory, etc.

Well the USAF covers all of those airframe specific costs of the C-17 and C-5. Then you have to add in the massive cost of USAF staff and refueling, and their retirements and lifetime medical care and so on. As a result you get an operational comparison in which the military cost of flying 10,000 tons of material is going to be much higher than other kinds of vendors. The USAF probably needs freight ability for wartime, mostly for training purposes in case of a world war. Otherwise, it's just pissing money away. You could hire FedEx or Atlas for a fraction of the price of moving the military wings around.

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