Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp

Antonov AN-124 Back in Production?

Antonov An-124 4

Now that Russia and the Ukraine are BFF’s again there has been an interesting flurry of activity in the defence sector.

A recently signed agreement includes;

resumption of series production of the modernized version of the AN−124−100 Ruslan transport – AN−124−200 for defense industry complexes of Russia and Ukraine.

Interfax stated;

“The total production volume for An-124 [planes is] 80 planes,” he said, opening a cabinet meeting in Kyiv on Wednesday.

The premier added that the total revenues from the sale of the said transport aircraft is estimated at $12.89 billion.

A quick calculation says $174 million each or just over 125 million of the Queens pound notes.

The agreement also provides for the resumption of the Ivchenko Progress D-18 engine.

The D-18 is a large turbofan engine with a maximum thrust of about 229.77 kN, or put another way, in the middle of the Rolls Royce Trent family of engines. It would be interesting to see how the AN-124 would perform with and handle the more powerful 282 kN Trent 772B-60 engines on the RAF Voyager.

Four FRES Scout in a single lift from Brize Norton to pretty much anywhere in the northern half of Africa and big chunks of the Middle East.

Now that is what you call a strategic air lifter.

I’ll take a dozen please!

On a serious note, we have yet to see a significant Russian/European defence equipment collaboration, as much as I like the idea of developing a Western Ruslan that forms part of a European or NATO (the European parts) strategic lift pool I can’t see it happening any time soon


Read more

Wikipedia – AN-124 Ruslan

Wikipedia – Progress D-18 Engine

Anotonov AN-124 product page

Ivchenko Progress – D18 Product Page

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest

15 Responses

  1. Great planes, I once hired one to take a lot of food to the Congo – used as much Vodka as avgas – crewed like the Queen Mary,

    We don’t collaborate ‘cos they are a neo-fascist nutcase regime run by the embers of the KGB, as likely to kill their own people as ours. They have a lot of oil, but unlike the equally barmy regimes we love in the Middle East, they have a big chip against the West. which makes them very unreliable partners.

  2. Built like Queen Mary too….

    We hired one to move a CF6-80 donk to cyprus for an engine change- the CF6 on its travelling frame is a big old lump, but it was dwarfed inside the hold…even with the 2nd hand Merc ‘E’ class, the crew were taking back to the Ukraine, tucked in the corner.

    It would be handy to have 10 or so….useful add-on to the C17 and Atlas.

  3. I’d have a couple of these in a heartbeat, brought 2 tonkas down to the Falkland’s when I was there, it was amazing to watch the take off and landing. I would think that the chances of winning export orders would increae with a rolls Royce engine on it, so it can’t be discounted.

    Whilst discussing PR in the earlier comments pictures of some RAF 124’s stuffed full of food and tractors from various agencies would look good, well would have to use them something post 2014!

  4. James, that is a PR problem you may need to get over. If you keep them always at arms length, they will never be friendly with you. To get “friendly” requires a fair bit of close engagement.

    Annually, the AN-124 is used to ship for our yearly exercises to Australia and is also a part of NATO’s strategic lift. A single -124 can pack in 5 Apaches/Pumas/Chinooks in a single hop, very useful capability.

    As some of the old TD readers here can attest, I’ve been a long time advocate for greater Russo-Anglo cooperation in technical and economic development. This seems like a missed opportunity to see Rolls-Royce engines in a Russian plane. Oh well. Maybe the next generation of them would be a collaborative effort.

  5. It was a nice plan it was just the question of risk that killed it I think?

    An-124-210 ;- Joint proposal with Air Foyle to meet UK’s Short Term Strategic Airlifter (STSA) requirement, with Rolls-Royce RB211-524H-T engines, each rated 60,600 lbf (264 kN) and Honeywell avionics—STSA competition abandoned in August 1999, reinstated, and won by the Boeing C-17A

    It would have been nice to of had 7 so we could keep 6 flying at any time. There are more modem and powerful engines as well now so it could have a higher payload with further development.

  6. Can’t imagine the difficulty of getting this aircraft past the new aircraft assessment process for RAF service. Just look at the issues RC135, A330 and Watchkeeper have had.

    Also its useful to note that we already use these aircraft and the are readily available for hire. So its really not worth our while spending our scarce treasure on yet another strategic airlifter fleet. Would be useful though to make sure we have guaranteed leasing capability that the Russians are unable to hinder but I am guessing we already have such an arrangement.

  7. @ Martin
    Nope…no leasing agreement, because some clever b****x in the ministry felt that there was enough capacity in the market and there always would be… this was decided just before the EU enacted its previously announced plan to ban eastern block aircraft operators from european airspace on the grounds of safety and noise.
    Overnight, this reduced the amount of airlifters available to Heavylift’s Belfasts, a few, new An124s, the odd 747F and a few useless L100 Hercules. Overall about 10 airframes for the whole of europe…
    …The B747F needed specialised handling equipment, so was absolutely useless for moving donks and donk change kits, and the Hercules hold was too small to take most engines on their carrying change platform and was too short- ranged with a decent load anyway.

    The net result was the price of moving a donk to effect an engine change, went from sharp to ‘prize-winning leek up the fundamental’.

    Silly really, ‘cos it meant that the IL-76 was excluded…and that was/is a bloody good aeroplane…interesting to see that it has been brought back into production again, with new engines and avionics.

    I really wish we’d get over this mindset about russian a/c- as a rule they’re simple, rugged and able to operate from unprepared strips.

    The Tu-204-120/220 is a RB211-535 engined variant….

  8. Amazing aircraft, filled the sky when I saw one land at Aldergrove, made the regular 747’s look tiny!

    As for Anglo-Russian co-operation, AW have made some headway I believe with licensed production of the AW139 somewhere near Moscow. Perhaps the French could make a lead in, following on from their Mistral Assault ship contract. Ok, its not aviation but its a start.

  9. Martin has it, we already have a strategic airlifter fleet with the C17. When the tactical C130J fleet is replaced with A400M we will have an airlifter that can perform tactical and strategic airlift in the same airframe.

    AN124 would be a beast to operate and the release to service would be fun to say the least. The current solution of hiring an AN124 when that kind of lift is needed is by far the best solution.

  10. If Russia cancels the Antonov 70 we(Nato,UK etc) will buy the An124 and the Russians will buy the A400!

    Happy 2014 everyone!


  11. How much would some second hand C5 Galaxies cost?
    All the country’s that operate AN-124 are short of cash at the moment we could make some offers on low hours airframes that we could then rebuild to spec.

  12. We have a finite budget, I realise that people on this site get week at the knees just thinking about the An-124 but it would be utter insanity to buy some!

    We have eight C17, twenty two A400M on order, 14 Voyager (order partially complete) and we have a simple mechanism to hire the AN124 whenever we need its capacity.

    Why go through all the costs of inducting an entirely alien type into service? The negatives vastly outweigh the positives buying AN124.

Comments are closed.