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NATO is Set to Prolong the Lease Agreement for Ukrainian An-124-100 Ruslan

November 24, 2010

KIEV, Ukraine, November 24, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — NATO and Ukraine are
discussing final provisions for extending the lease of heavy-duty transport
aircraft – Antonov An-124-100 Ruslan. The contract is likely to be extended
for two years before the end of 2010. Ukraine is now negotiating a plan to
revive mass production of a new commercialized model of Ruslan jointly with
Russia. The produced planes will have the cargo lifting capacity of 150
tonnes. Russian air force is also a potential client for the aircraft.

The initial 600 million euro worth three-year contract with a right for
prolongation was signed in the year of 2005. At that time NATO gave its
preference to Ukrainian and Russian aircraft rather than American C-17.
Consequently, the lease contract was extended in 2008. NATO is leasing Ruslan
(NATO reporting name Condor) under SALIS programme (Strategic Airlift Interim
Solution programme).

NATO is acting in the interest of its 18 members and European Union.
Transport planes with 120 tonnes lifting capacity are to be used for
antiterrorist, peacekeeping and humanitarian missions of the Alliance.

This agreement will cause drastic changes on the market of commercial
transportation of super-heavy cargo as well as amend NATO’s plans for its
presence in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Antonov An-124 Ruslan is a strategic airlift jet airplane. It was
designed by the Soviet Union’s Antonov design bureau. It is the world’s
largest ever serially manufactured cargo airplane and world’s second largest
operating cargo aircraft. Over forty are in service in Ukraine,
Russia,Bulgaria, the United Arab Emirates and Libya. An-124-100 is a
commercialized version of a heavy military-transport plane An-124.

Among the others, Antonov (AN) 124-100 is represented in the fleet of
Maximus Air Cargo, the UAE’s largest cargo aircraft operator. In 2010 Maximus
Air Cargo was sending relief flights during the Holy Month of Ramadhan to
help drought stricken Chad. The heavyweight Ruslans could carry large loads
of relief and were able to land in devastated zones with little or no
infrastructure.

In 2005 An-124 was used for transporting the Obelisk of Axum, with a
total weight of 160 tonnes, back to its native homeland of Ethiopia. In 2004
it transported a 109 tonnes locomotive from Canada to Ireland.

SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine


Source: newswire



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