Russia’s Volga-Dnepr Group has taken a giant step in addressing the oversize and heavy-cargo transportation market with its decision to modernize one of its AN-124-100 “Ruslan” freighters to an AN-124-111VD. Ukrainian manufacturer Antonov Company will perform the renovation and use the knowledge gleaned from the experience to re-launch this product line.
Volga-Dnepr Group President Alexey Isaikin and Antonov Company President Dmytro Kiva reached a deal at the recent International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS-2011 in Moscow, agreeing to the first renovated AN-124-100. Spelled out in the contract between the two companies are specific plans regarding the aircraft’s research and design schedule and strategies for development.
The AN-124-111VD’s dimensions and capacity requirements are also included in the agreement, with Antonov envisioning its takeoff weight to be 402 tonnes and its cargo-lift capacity to reach 150 tonnes. The modernized aircraft will also comply with International Civil Aviation Organization emissions regulations and feature a greatly extended lifecycle, Volga-Dnepr officials say.
“Ultimately, the AN-124-111VD lifetime will be expanded up to 60,000 flying hours and 12,000 typical flights, giving it a service life of up to 50 years,” a company spokesman said.
This aircraft overhaul won’t just benefit Volga-Dnepr, however. Antonov will use the modernized AN-124-100 as the prototype for the eventual launch of its AN-124-300 freighter product line.