Meanwhile, the "green light" was given to the production of Il-476 transport aircraft (Il-76MD-90А), and further work on the creation of the An-70, An-140Т and partially Il-112 aircraft was approved. According to the latest aircraft, the military put forward a number of requirements for the KLA to finalize its proposal. It is worth noting that even if Aviastar loses the contract for heavy transport workers Ruslan, he will have the largest stories Russian aviation industry contract for the supply of X-NUMX military transport aircraft Il-39 for the total amount of 476 billion rubles.
An-124 “Ruslan” today remains the world's largest serial cargo aircraft, although it was developed as early as 1982 in the Antonov Design Bureau.
Initially it was planned to use it for the transportation of mobile launchers of ICBMs, as well as heavy equipment and personnel, but now the aircraft mostly performs civilian tasks. In total for 20 production years 56 machines were assembled. An-124 capable of carrying up to 120-150 tons of cargo, 880 soldiers with full gear or 440 paratroopers. The total volume of its cargo compartment is more than 1000 cubic meters.
The need to resume the production of heavy transport aircraft "Ruslan" first started talking in the middle of the 2000-s. The main reason for this decision was the obsolescence of the existing fleet of transport aircraft of this type, which are operated mainly by private companies Polet, Volga-Dnepr, Antonov Airlines and the need to replace them with new sides. Initially, the An-124 aircraft was designed with a flight resource in 7 500 hours (the planes were originally intended to be used less frequently), but by 2006, some of the released units managed to fly in on 15 000 hours.
In 2008, the audit company Ernst & Young and the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) jointly prepared a business plan, according to which it was planned to resume the production of An-124 aircraft. From this document it followed that the production of transport aircraft would be profitable when ordering from 40 aircraft worth 150-160 million dollars each. According to that plan, it was assumed that the Ulyanovsk enterprise "Aviastar" will produce 2 Ruslan aircraft a year, starting in 2012. However, these plans were never realized, and the start of production was postponed all the time - first to 2015, and then to 2016.
Currently, the KLA has options for the release of approximately An-70 124 aircraft, of which only 40 is likely to be issued with a firm order. At one time, a certain stake in ensuring the profitability of the production of a heavy transport aircraft was made at the Russian Defense Ministry, which was almost under compulsory purchase of about 20 similar aircraft for its own needs, which was envisaged by the state weapons program for the 2011-2020 years.
After that, the military did not make any concrete statements on this score, and in early 2012, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, arriving in Ulyanovsk and visiting Aviastar, spoke about the possibility of acquiring about 10 Ruslan aircraft by the Ministry of Defense. However, it seems that the military was not able to determine the tasks that were supposed to be solved by heavy transport aircraft in the Russian military transport aviation.
Refusal to purchase new An-124-300 can be interpreted in two ways. On the one hand, this decision of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation may indicate that the military could not decide on the range of tasks that the world's most heavy-duty aircraft should solve in the interests of the military. At the same time, for the existing tasks of the military transport aviation of Russia, it seems that the existing Ruslans are sufficient, the resource of which, after a comprehensive modernization, will be increased to 2030.
At one time, it was the inability to determine the range of tasks that the largest serial transport aircraft was supposed to perform, and caused the closure of its serial production, naturally against the background of the serious economic problems of Ukraine and Russia. In Ukraine, the production of An-124 was stopped in the middle of the 90-s of the last century, in Russia, the Ulyanovsk Aviastar was assembled by the last transport worker in 2003 year. Currently, the Russian military transport aviation has 22 "Ruslan". At the same time they are used very limited. So in 2009, only 4 of them flew, primarily handling government cargo.
On the other hand, the refusal to purchase An-124-300 simultaneously with the intention to purchase X-NUMX Il-39 aircraft with the possibility of increasing this order may indicate an attempt by the Russian Defense Ministry to support exclusively the domestic aircraft manufacturer (in the An-476 version of the equipment and engines of the Ukrainian production). In favor of this version, the process of reducing the dependence of Russian aviation (now mostly helicopter) on the components of Ukraine’s production can be attributed. However, Russia's interest in the Antonov An-124 and An-70 transport workers correlates poorly with this version.
At the same time, the Ulyanovsk aircraft manufacturer will not remain without work. Until the end of 2014, Avistar will repair the military Ruslans, and then move on to upgrading the 22 An-124 to the An-124-150M version. In Russia, only Aviastar-SP CJSC has the technology to produce these aircraft, which are still in demand on the international market for large-size and super-heavy air transportation. This modification involves the installation of a new avionics system, an increase in the aircraft’s carrying capacity to 150 tons and a reduction in the number of transport crew from 6 to 4 people. It is assumed that the modernization of "Ruslans" in the interests of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation will be used in the interests of restoring the release of An-124 of various modifications for commercial purposes.
It is worth noting that the aircraft has a commercial potential, which means there is also a hope that their release will nevertheless be resumed. To date, two companies dominate the heavy air traffic segment: the Russian Volga-Dnepr and the Ukrainian Antonov Airlines, which own the 10 and 7 Airplanes Ruslan, respectively. In the global market, these companies work together, providing their services through 2 joint ventures: Ruslan SALIS GmbH (strategic transportation for the EU and NATO), and Ruslan International (specializing in civilian transportation). 18 countries use the services of these campaigns, and the main customers are France and Germany.
According to the Berliner Zeitung newspaper, one flight of Ruslan from Germany to Afghanistan costs about 250 000 euros, and according to the owner of Motor Sich, Vyacheslav Boguslayev, one An-124 brings up to 200 million dollars in profit per year. This figure, of course, does not look realistic, but the demand for An-124 services is quite high. So in the first half of 2009, these aircraft transported about 52,5 thousand tons of various cargoes.
The global financial and economic crisis that has erupted virtually did not affect the market for the transportation of large-sized, non-standard cargoes, the volume of which is currently estimated at 1 billion dollars a year and is growing annually by about 10% in monetary terms. It is expected that by the year 2020 it will reach 3 billion dollars, and by the year 2030, according to the estimates of Volga-Dnepr, it may amount to 7 billion dollars. Based on this, the Russian air carrier predicts the need for Ruslans for 2030 for the year at the level of 80-100 aircraft.
At present, the Serval anti-terrorist operation is being conducted by the French armed forces in Mali. The An-124 Russian cargo aircraft also joined the operation, which was approved by the UN Security Council. The aircraft of the company Volga-Dnepr and OJSC 224 Flight Squad (this company is associated with the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation) carry out the transfer to Mali of personnel and military equipment, including French helicopters. At the same time, this is an example of private commercial cooperation, since no official agreements were concluded by the Ministry of Defense with the French side.
The "224 flight squad" has a valid agreement with the French Ministry of Defense on the implementation of the transport of goods in their interests. This agreement was concluded in 2010 for a period of 5 years. If we talk about the company "Volga-Dnepr", then it is known as one of the key carriers of weapons. At the same time, all the crews of Russian aircraft, said Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.
Interesting trucking "Ruslan":
In 1992, An-124 transferred tons of gold from 52 from the United Arab Emirates to Switzerland for a total amount of more than 230 million pounds.
In 1993, over three An-124 airplanes in Moscow, more than 300 tons of various cargoes were delivered to prepare the Michael Jackson concert.
In 2001, An-124 transported a railway locomotive from Canada to Ireland with a mass of 109 tons.
In April, 2005 was used to transport the Aksum obelisk to Ethiopia. The delivery was carried out in the 3 stages, during each of which a third of the monument was transported with a total weight of 160 tons and a length of 24 meters.
In the spring of 2011, the aircraft was used to deliver huge Putzmeister pumps to Japan. Each pump mounted on an 26-wheeled platform weighed more than 86 tons. These pumps were used to eliminate the consequences of the disaster at the Fukushima-1 NPP.