The Soviet-based Antonov Company has built over 22,000 aircraft over several decades, including a variety of cargo, passenger and special purpose planes.
In June of 1965 the Soviet Union unveiled a new cargo plane at the Paris Air Show. The Antonov An-22 "Antei" was powered by four turboprop engines with contra-rotating propellers and featured twin tailfins. It was 190' in length, with a wingspan of 211'. About 68 An-22s were built before production ended in 1976, including 37 of the original An-22 design and 28 of the updated An-22A.
The An-22 remains the largest turbo-prop powered aircraft in the world.
In the summer of 2016, airframe UR-09307 was returned to active service with Antonov Airlines after being in storage for seven years.
In the late 1980s, the Antonov Bureau achieved global prominence after introduction of its extra large cargo jet aircraft. The An-124 "Ruslan" became the Soviet Union's mass-produced strategic airlifter. The airlifter made its maiden flight in 1982 and entered service with the Soviet Air Forces in 1986.
Today, Antonov continues its superiority in the design and production of extra large aircraft. The giant Antonov 124-100 Ruslan is a heavy lifter aircraft intended for the transportation of heavy and oversized cargo and various special-purpose vehicles.
The two major An-124 variants are the basic An-124 and the Russian civil certified An-124-100. Other models include the An-124-100M-150 and the An-124-150. It's overall look is similar to the USAF Lockheed C-5 Galaxy but has a 25% greater payload.
The An-124 rides on 24 wheels. The front landing gear has two 2-wheel units which are steerable. The front landing gear was adjustable which allows the transport to "kneel", to assist cargo loading. The main landing gear configuration consists of 10 wheels on each side, for a total of 20.
The 4-engine configuration produces a top speed of 540 miles per hour, a cruise speed of 500 miles per hour, and a range of 3,300 miles with a service ceiling of 40,000 feet. The plane can operate under extreme conditions, and land on rough airfields and hard-packed snow.
It features both nose and tail cargo doors for simultaneous loading and unloading.
About 55 An-124 aircraft have been built, with most in commercial use and only a small number assigned directly to the air transport arm of the Russian air forces.
Numbers of active aircraft depend on the reporting source, and changes in political, military and economic conditions. The following is one list of active An-124 operators (as of 2016):
Largest An-124 Operators
|An-124 Antonov Airlines
|Volga-Dnepr AH-124-100, nose view
|Main landing gear carriage on a An-124
|Shown below is a spotting guide comparing the Boeing 747-8F to the Antonov An-124-100, both wide-body jet freighters with four engines. Also shown is the similar designed Lockheed C-5 Galaxy.
Antonov later enlarged the "Ruslan" design even more, creating the An-225 "Mriya" which was unveiled at the Paris Air Show in 1989. "Mriya" is still the world's largest and heaviest aircraft.
The Antonov 225 Mriya features six jet engines and a massive split tail structure. It rides on 32 wheels, four in the front landing bear, and 28 on the main landing gear.
Only one An-225 has been built, with a second airframe reportedly 70% complete.
Reports are that it was destroyed during the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February of 2022.
|Antonov An-225 Mriya, six engines under the wings, split tail
The Antonov Company offers a complete range of regional passenger planes, from the 27−seat turboprop Antonov An-38 to the Antonov−148 and Antonov−158 jets.
The An-148/158 airliner is a high-wing monoplane with two turbofan jet engines mounted in pods under the wing. Seating capacity ranges from 68 to 99 passengers.
A built-in auto-diagnosis system, auxiliary power unit, high reliability, and the wing configuration allow the An-148 and An-158 to be used at poorly equipped airfields. The An-148/158 are the only regional and short-range aircraft certified for take-off and landing on unpaved runways..
Over 40 Antonov 148/158 series jetliners have been delivered to a number of airlines.
|Antonov An-148, a twin-jet regional airliner
(photo courtesy of the Antonov Company)
The AN−140 regional aircraft is intended for passenger and mixed cargo/passenger transportations. It can be operated in a wide range of the airfield heights and climate conditions, under good and adverse weather conditions, by day and night.
The aircraft's design features a high wing position, standard tail configuration and two wing−mounted ТV3−117VМА−SBМ1 turboprop engines. It can seat up to 52 passengers.
|Antonov An-140 turboprop airliner
(photos courtesy of the Antonov Company)
The AN−12 is a medium-range, four-engine turboprop transport designed in the Soviet Union, the military version of the Antonov An-10. In terms of size and capability, it is similar to the Lockheed C-130 Hercules.
A total of 1,248 were built, with many variants, and used by a number of military organizations in many countries.
|Antonov An-12 turboprop transport