30 years since the AN-124 Ruslan maiden take-of
Our album is dedicated to the thirtieth anniversary of the first flight of the Аn-124 Ruslan, the aircraft which is unique in many ways. the Design Bureau team, headed by the outstanding aircraft designer O.K. Antonov, has indeed performed a great feat having solved an exceptionally complex problem and created an aircraft with such unique performance features. The whole of the aviation world admires the beauty and elegance of this magical hero of an aircraft. Its development necessitated not only a new approach to aircraft development and finding novel manufacturing and technological solutions, but also required coordination of the activities of more than three hundred enterprises of the Soviet Union.
Time has demonstrated how successfully this vast operation was accomplished. Having been launched in service with the Air Force, the Ruslan aircraft has become an unsurpassed transporter of military equipment, weaponry, and vehicles. Its appearance in the commercial market generated a new segment of services – air transportation of super-heavy and oversized cargoes. The Аn-124 and its further modifications have taken part in numerous humanitarian and peacemaking missions, including those performed under the aegis of the UN. The aircraft has flown thousands of strategic transportation missions, including those of the NATO member nations. They have landed in 768 airports of 165 countries of the globe. And the limit has not yet been reached! Every year these airplanes operate into about 30 new airports.
Ruslan has 30 world records to its credit, including freight, altitude-with-payload, speed, and flight distance records.
One can not fail to mention the important role that the Аn-124 has played in the history of our company. During the period of the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the first years of Ukrainian independence, it was owing to, primarily, the profitable operation of these airplanes that ANTONOV managed not only to retain its team of highly qualified specialists capable of implementing the full cycle of aircraft development, but also to realize a number of new and advanced aviation programs.
Ruslan has become a symbol not only of the ANTONOV Company, but of our country in general. Today, having reached the age of 30 years, the aircraft retains its vast potential. Our specialists have been continuously taking care to support the aircraft in service and ensure its compliance with the latest and most advanced standards and requirements. Just recently, we have developed and certified three new versions of the Ruslan. They differ from the baseline aircraft in having twice longer service lives and time limits and upgraded aircraft equipment. Moreover two of the models – the Аn-124-100М-150 and Аn-124-100-150 – have a payload increased to 150 tons.
Together with our partners from Ukraine and Russia, ANTONOV is implementing the program of in-depth upgrading and renewal of series production of the aircraft.
Ruslan has a glorious past, full-blooded present, and, we are sure of it, a promising future. Leafing through this album you will learn the aircraft’s remarkable biography, which combines the life stories and destinies of a number of outstanding personalities, companies, and entire countries!