The Russian Air Force has taken delivery of three modernised Antonov An-124-100 super-heavy transport aircraft, Air Force spokesman colonel Vladimir Drik said.
The aircraft delivery is part of the Russian armed forces modernisation programme, under which the air force will also receive up to ten newly built An-124-300 transports with increased payload of 150t.
Drik told RIA Novosti: "The air force has got three modernised Ruslan An-124-100s and four more are being updated at the Ulyanovsk Aviastar factory.
"We plan to modernise another ten or so An-124s to An-124-100M standard."
Upgrades to An-124 aircraft include new avionics suite, a navigation system, strengthened airframe, increased range of up to 5400km, a new SRPPZ-2000 terrain warning awareness system and a new braking system, which enables it to make 30% shorter landing runs.
The largest An-124 military long-range heavy transport aircraft has been designed to carry oversized loads and is capable of landing on rough airstrips.
The 36m-long aircraft can fly at a height of up to 10,000m while carrying a maximum load of 120t and can operate under 60°C below zero and 45°C above zero temperatures.
The An-124 aircraft is equipped with an onboard system of cargo handling equipment allowing it to perform para-dropping and cargo handling equipment without the need of assistance from ground facilities.
Image: An Antonov An-124-100 with front ramp down. Photo: courtesy of Mike Young.