|The An-124, designed by the Antonov
Aeronautical Scientific Technical Complex based in Kiev in the Ukraine,
is the world's largest and highest flying cargo capacity aircraft
in production. Its serial production has been launched at AVIANT State
Aviation Plant, Kiev, and AVIASTAR, Ulyanovsk, Russia. The aircraft,
which has the NATO reporting name Condor, is designed for long-range
delivery and air dropping of heavy and large size cargo, including
machines, equipment and troops.
The An-124 aircraft
is capable of airlifting troops and armaments from the interior of
a country to the theatre of operations, between forward and rear zones
of operations, to reinforce airborne troops with heavy combat materiel,
and the delivery of cargo for fleet forces on naval operations.
The unique transport
capabilities and the high performance of the aircraft have been proven
in operation. The An-124 has served several nations in the transportation
of economically important cargoes, for example: 90-ton hydraulic turbines,
large size Liebherr autocranes, American Euclid dump trucks, the fuselage
of Tu-204 passenger transporter, a 109-ton railway locomotive, and
a sea yacht of more than 25 metre length.
Instead of using
traditional approaches, the design and construction of the aircraft
required the development and implementation of a major research programme
encompassing aerodynamics, stress analysis, propulsion, controls,
systems, reliability and safety.
fuselage has a double-deck layout. The cockpit, the relief crew compartment
and the passenger cabin with 88 seats are on the upper deck. The lower
deck is the cargo hold. The flight deck has crew stations arranged
in pairs for six crew - the pilot and copilot, two flight engineers,
the navigator and communications officer. The loadmaster's station
is located in the lobby deck.
The An-124 aircraft
is fitted with a relatively thick (12 %) sweptback supercritical wing
to give high aerodynamic efficiency and consequently a long flight
range. To decrease the trim drag, the aircraft was designed with a
low margin of static stability.
includes extruded skin panels on the wing, extruded plates for the
centre-section wing panels and monolithic wafer plates for the fuselage
panels. The aircraft structural members are made of composites that
make up 1,500 square metres of the surface area, giving weight saving
of 2,000 kg.
capacity multi-leg landing gear and loading equipment ensure self-sufficient
operation of the aircraft on prepared concrete runways and on poorly
equipped unpaved strips at forward airbases close to the areas of
operations where the cargo is needed. The landing gear is self-orienting
and incorporates a kneeling mechanism in the landing gear which allows
an adjustable fuselage clearance to assist the loading and unloading
of self-propelled equipment. The aircraft has paradropping and cargo-handling
equipment, a 1,000-test point on-board automatic test system, as well
as two auxiliary power units equipped with electric generators and
turbopumps for independent operation of the aircraft.
The two cargo hatches
are a distinctive structural feature. The fuselage nose can be hinged
upward to open the front cargo hatch and there is a rear cargo hatch
in the rear fuselage to speed up the cargo loading and unloading operation.
All systems are
quadruple redundant. The on-board equipment provide the capability
to execute airlift and paradrop missions by day and at night, in visual
flight rules and instrument flight rules (VFR and IFR) weather conditions,
under hostile air defence conditions, and in prolonged operation beyond
the main basing airfield. The systems include an integrated flight
control and aiming-navigation system, communications facilities and
paradropping and cargohandling equipment. There are 34 computers functioning
aboard the aircraft, combined into four main systems: navigation,
automatic piloting, remote control and monitoring.
flight control and aiming-navigation system comprises an autonomous
navigation system, altitude and airspeed indicating system, combat
formation flight control equipment, short-range radio navigation and
landing system, global positioning system, automatic radio compass,
integrated flight control system, ground surveillance radar, forward-looking
weather radar, optical and TV sight and IFF equipment.
facilities include an aeronautical-space communications radio station,
HF radio set, VHF/UHF radio set, intercom, voice warning and documentation
system of cargo handling equipment make it possible to load and unload
the aircraft without the help of ground facilities. The paradropping
and cargo-handling equipment comprises two travelling cranes, two
winches, rollgang and tiedown equipment. The aircraft is often compared
to the US Lockheed Martin C-5 Galaxy. The An-124 has a transportation
capability 25% higher than that of the C-5A and 10% higher than the
An-124 aircraft have been making charter freight and the aircraft
has set 30 world records, the most significant of those are: 171,219
kg cargo was lifted to 10,750 metres altitude in 1985; a 20,161 km
closed route was flown in 25.5 hours in 1987; and an average speed
of 689.1 km/hour was achieved in a round-the-world flight over the
South and North Poles in 1990.
On the basis of
the An-124 military transport, the An-124-100 has been developed and
certified for cargo operations. At present, the An-124-100M modification
of the aircraft is being developed together with Aviastar Joint Stock
Company using advanced. domestic equipment of the Commonwealth of
Independent Sates, (CIS), as well as Collins and Litton equipment
which allows the reduction a reduction in the number of crew members
from six to four, while improving flight safety and navigation accuracy.
designed and manufactured by the Antonov Aeronautical Scientific Technical
Complex based in Kiev in the Ukraine, is the world's largest and highest
flying cargo capacity aircraft in production.