A Russian-built follow-on to the Antonov An-124 Ruslan heavy airlifter will be ready by 2027, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said on July 30. The Ulyanovsk-based Aviastar-SP enterprise has reportedly been preparing for several years to build An-124s without the participation of Ukraine-based industry, including Antonov.
Ukraine’s Antonov Airlines is negotiating to take over the contract to provide An-124 services in NATO’s Strategic Airlift International Solution, replacing Russia’s Volga-Dnepr Airlines that said it is withdrawing from NATO support at the end of the year. Antonov had previously been working with Volga-Dnepr, providing NATO with six An-124s lying 1,300–1,600 hours per year. Antonov Airlines heavy airlift capability includes one An- 22, seven An-124 Ruslans and the world’s only An-225 Mriya super-heavy airlifter. Further details of the Antonov An-124 and An-225 can be found on p64-67 and p46-49 respectively.