Antonov An-124-100 super-heavy transport aircraft

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.

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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.