For the first time, the Russian Air Force has conducted a mass launch of 6 AN-124 cargo aircraft, practicing the combat capability of safely and swiftly launching a large number of heavy aircraft.
Air Force officials said the total force launch effort was an opportunity for personnel to train together on a larger scale than normal.
The purpose of the training flights was to improve the skills of young crews of Antonov AN-124 transport aircraft, according to a recent service news release.
“The flights were carried out at an altitude of over 4 thousand meters, the total length of the route was more than 600 km, the average aircraft speed was 500 km/h,” the Air Force said in a release on Friday.
An-124 Ruslan (Condor) Large Cargo Aircraft
The An-124 Ruslan (Nato reporting name Condor), designed by the Antonov ASTC, based in Kiev, Ukraine, is a very large cargo transport aircraft. It is manufactured by Aviant State Aviation Plant, Kiev, and Aviastar, Ulyanovsk, Russia.
The Ruslan is designed for long-range delivery and air dropping of heavy and large size cargo, including machines, equipment and troops. The development of the first AN-124 airframe commenced in 1979.
The An-124 completed its maiden flight in December 1982 and entered service in January 1986. The aircraft was first showcased at the Paris Air Show in 1985. It was accredited with civil certification in 1992. Around 60 aircraft have were built. The Russian Army operates 25 An-124 aircraft.
The AN-124 Condor is one of the largest aircraft in the world, specifically designed for carrying heavy or bulky loads by the Ukrainian Antonov company.
AN-124 can carry more cargo farther distances than any other aircraft. The heavy strategic military transport airplane is capable of carrying up to 150 tons of cargo. It can also carry 88 passengers in an upper deck behind the wing center section. The cargo compartment of An-124 is 36×6.4×4.4 m (118×21×14 ft), ca. 20% larger than the main cargo compartment of the C-5 Galaxy, which is 36.91×5.79×4.09 m (121.1×19.0×13.4 ft).
Five An-124 Ruslan aircraft were used by Antonov’s airlift subdivision Antonov Airlines to deliver cargoes from China to European countries during the first half of 2020.