Winged Giants: The Largest Military Transport Aircraft


Photo: Wikipedia / An-22A


When it comes to military aircraft, most people come to mind fighters, bombers, attack aircraft. Nevertheless, in any serious armed forces these days there is no way to do without winged vehicles, capable of transferring manpower, equipment, as well as cargoes, without which the conduct of hostilities and vital activity of troops will be impossible, as soon as possible.

Since the advent of the military transport aviation as such, the creators of the aircraft sought to achieve from their creations an increase in two fundamental parameters: the range of non-stop flight and carrying capacity. It is quite predictable that this led to the birth of real winged giants that amaze the imagination with their size and other characteristics. We will talk about the most prominent representatives of this category of military transport.

It is pleasant to recognize that the top lines in the list of “most-most” are occupied by domestic cars. However, adhering to the truth, they should be called more likely Soviet aircraft. It is primarily about the An-124. He is “Ruslan”, he is also “Product 400”, he is also “Condor” according to the codification of NATO. For six years (from 1982 to 1988), it was the largest aircraft in the world, in terms of its carrying capacity, and today it is second only to the American Boeing 747-8F. However, this car is considered to be a civilian one, the Pentagon is not used, and therefore our Ruslan among military transport carriers can safely be considered the heaviest - it can lift up to 120 tons into the sky.

If the An-124 is a fourth-generation heavy transporter, then the An-22 (Antei, Product 100, Cock) belongs to the galaxy of honored veterans of the Soviet and Russian Air Force. Nevertheless, this machine to this day holds the title of the largest of all existing turboprop aircraft. What is characteristic, it was originally developed not only for the transportation of bulky military cargo, but also for the landing of manpower and equipment - both by parachute and landing method. An-22 can also be used as a flying hospital for more than 200 people. The carrying capacity is less than that of the An-124, but still impressive - up to 80 tons.

The third on the list, so to speak, is the largest military transporter of the likely enemy - the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy of the US Air Force. In terms of carrying capacity, our An-124 does not reach a couple of tons, however, it can carry a very impressive amount of weapons on board - from 6 Apache helicopters to a couple tanks M1 Abrams. Well, or 3 and a half hundreds of personnel under full gear. The machine is more than serious, manufactured for many decades and, nevertheless, to replace, apparently, is not planned. Yes, and why? In the 80s of the last century and at the beginning of the present century, this giant was twice modernized, its new generations were produced with an increasingly complex and modern “filling” - from avionics to engines, but in its main parameters the Pentagon more than suits and will serve it, most likely for a long time.

Among the rather large military transport aircraft, it’s worth mentioning perhaps the American Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, a strategic “truck” capable of carrying up to 77,5 tons in the sky, and again, our good old IL-76, which is slightly behind carrying capacity (up to 60 tons), but it has earned the very best fame and has shown itself perfectly in real hostilities, including in Afghanistan.

The rest of the winged transporters serving in various armies of the world (the European Airbus A400M Atlas or the Japanese C-2 Kawasaki) can not claim the title of "best-most" in comparison with the above models: neither in terms of carrying capacity, nor in size.

Will cars ever be able to surpass those truly winged giants? How to know! Recently, the creation of aircraft for military transport aviation is more likely to be on the path of efficiency and minimization. It is possible that the "old people" will remain the largest in their class.
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  1. andrewkor April 14 2020 06: 19 New
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    The leadership of the Air Force, according to the experience of the Afghan war, seriously raised the issue of resuming the production of the An-22. But, alas, all the rigging, slipways, and so on at TAPOiCH have already been disposed of!
    1. iouris April 14 2020 10: 47 New
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      Two years ago, the leadership of the Russian Ministry of Defense seriously raised the issue of resuming the production of the An-2. But, alas, all the rigging, slipways, and so on at TAPOiCH have already been disposed of!
      1. Fitter65 April 14 2020 11: 31 New
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        Quote: iouris
        Two years ago, the leadership of the Russian Ministry of Defense seriously raised the issue of resuming the production of the An-2. But, alas, all the rigging, slipways, and so on at TAPOiCH have already been disposed of!

        An-2 at TAPOiCH never released.
        1949 — 1952 - at the aircraft factory number 473 in Kiev, produced 185 machines.
        1953 — 1963 - at the aircraft factory number 473 in Kiev, produced 3164 machines.
        1959-2002 - at the WSK PZL-Mielec aviation plant in Poland, 11 aircraft were produced.
        1966-1971 - at the Dolgoprudnoy Machine-Building Plant (Dolgoprudny, Moscow Region), 506 An-2M modification cars were produced.
        1956-1968 - at the aircraft factory No. 320 in Nanchang (now NAMC - Nanhang Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation) in China, 727 aircraft were produced under the name 安 -2 ("Fong Shu-2").
        1970 - present (2013) - at the aircraft factory in Shijiazhuang (now SAMC - Shijiazhuang Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation) in China, produced more than 300 aircraft under the name 运 -5 ("Yongshuzhi-5", Y-5). The production rate of Y-5 currently stands at 10-20 cars per year.
    2. Zaurbek April 14 2020 11: 06 New
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      And An12 hastened to dispose of .... And his Chinese brother is not going to retire and the S-130 is the same.
  2. mark1 April 14 2020 06: 21 New
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    Miraculous rating ... (and why the hell is it needed?) As I understand it, judging by the order of places that Galaxy is out of place for our Antei laughing
    1. Dimka75 April 14 2020 06: 38 New
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      "So be it," the author, reluctantly holding together the braces, mentioned.
      The third on the list, so to speak, is the largest military transport carrier of the likely enemy - the US Air Force Lockheed C-5 Galaxy. In terms of carrying capacity, it does not reach our An-124 just a couple of tons,

      and cho, analytics, so be it)
    2. The leader of the Redskins April 14 2020 06: 59 New
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      And the article is a wonderful miracle. Interestingly, such on VO for the "tick" print, on the "order" or "to argue"?
      1. vik669 April 14 2020 07: 27 New
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        Well, you give a pancake! It is as if there are few articles in this “Murzilka” of this level - articles for a certain contingent of readers are quite suitable!
  3. Anders April 14 2020 07: 20 New
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    S-5m left far behind Antonov! Super plane !!!
    1. neri73-r April 14 2020 14: 56 New
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      Quote: Anders
      S-5m left far behind Antonov! Super plane !!!

      What, where and when? But does NATO still carry everything on Ruslans? So much so that it is scheduled for years to come. Ali cherish their S-5m? wassat
  4. mr.ZinGer April 14 2020 08: 57 New
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    Some notes on the cuffs, like "There are big planes, and they even fly."
  5. Peter is not the first April 14 2020 10: 08 New
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    If only the author added pictures to the article, so that it would be like in Murzilka. Graphics support and satiate the statement of facts.
    1. Aag
      Aag April 14 2020 10: 17 New
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      I sat down to relish ... Bummer ...
  6. itarnmag April 14 2020 10: 37 New
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    Two tanks "Abrams" S-5 will not raise. Their weight has already exceeded 60 tons. Most likely they will not lift them and An-124
  7. NordUral April 14 2020 10: 40 New
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    Everything would be fine, but the states have about 5 Lockheed C-50 Galaxy units, and 124 with us.
    1. neri73-r April 14 2020 14: 59 New
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      Quote: NordUral
      Everything would be fine, but the states have about 5 Lockheed C-50 Galaxy units, and 124 with us.

      They have more bases and a desire to stick their nose where they don’t ask for quality more!
      1. NordUral April 14 2020 20: 14 New
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        And ours and without "poke nose"Enough is enough, if something happens.
  8. sevtrash April 14 2020 10: 45 New
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    Most of the C5 will be upgraded to C5m, by the weight of the cargo it already has 2 tons more than An124))). One of the more significant characteristics is the cost of the service, I once read almost twice as much as the cost for An124. The crew, again, has a smaller C5.
  9. iouris April 14 2020 10: 46 New
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    Does the article go through the counter-propaganda section?
  10. Old26 April 19 2020 18: 31 New
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    Quote: mark1
    Miraculous rating ... (and why the hell is it needed?) As I understand it, judging by the order of places that Galaxy is out of place for our Antei laughing

    Yes, and the author of this miracle rating completely forgot about such a machine as the AN-225 Mriya