Federal production agency (FPA) of Russia adopted a resolution to resume serial production of the famous airplanes An-124 “Ruslan”, reports RIA “Novosti”.
“Aviastar-airplane manucturing” JSC located in the Russian town of Ulyanovsk assembles such airplanes as “Antonov” and “Tupolev”. The company’s press-service has made it clear that this time they intend to “establish a joint venture with Ukraine to manufacture an updated version of An-124-100M with a load carrying capacity up to 150 tons, a more powerful engine, requiring only 4 instead of 6 crew members, and up to date electronics analogues to the ones used in space.”
It is expected to manufacture as many as 80 An-124-100M airplanes between 2006 and 2020. Such timeframes have been approved by head of the FPA Boris Aleshin and the first deputy of Ukraine’s manufacturing politics Valery Kazakov.
“Aviastar-SP” will be the main manufacturer of the airplanes, whereas Ukrainian company “Aviant” will undertake supply of the tail units. General manager of the Russian company Victor Mikhailov considers it possible to assemble this many planes under one condition – timely and full financing.
In the course of the past years, “Volga-Dnepr” and “Poljot” airline companies used to be the only buyers of An-124 airplanes. In 2004 each one of the companies received one new airplane. According to the head of “Aviastar-SP” communication department Lubov Gruzintseva, each one of these companies still remain their clients.
However, the company has already signed several contracts with other organizations. Due to the mutual interests, names of the organizations will not be revealed.
It is noteworthy to mention however that in the end of June Victor Mikhailov had noted that new “Ruslans” will be more expensive than the previous model. The cost will be about $70–80 million USD.
Currently, to rent “Ruslan” for one hour will cost you between $14-16 000 USD, reports “Military industrial courier.” The airplane’s load carrying capacity equals to 120 tons.
European airplane Beluga (load capacity 47 tons, cost per “block hour” $20 000 USD) and American airplane C-17 (load capacity 79 tons, cost per “block hour” $45 000 USD) are Ruslan’s main competitors on the market.