A contract between NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPSA) and Antonov has been signed for AN-124-100 Ruslans to be utilised within the Strategic Airlift International Solution (SALIS) programme for the next five years.
The Ukrainian company and its heavy cargo aircraft have been working with NATO under the SALIS programme since January 2006. Antonov provides strategic airlift in support of NATO and EU operations with two of its AN-124-100s constantly at NATO's disposal. Other Antonov cargo aircraft such as the world’s largest turbo prop AN-22 Antei and the unique six engine AN-225 Mriya are also available on request.
This latest agreement is the first time the contract has been agreed for a duration of five years. Past contract agreements between NSPA and Antonov's logistics department have been an extension of two or three years, making this the longest term of extension to the SALIS programme yet.
According to an Antonov press release on November 12, Sergiy Bychkov, company director, said that the aircraft have enough service life to perform missions within the SALIS programme over the next five years, pointing to the company service provision of more than 15 years since operations began in 2006.