26 Aug 2019 13:29

An-124 Ruslan to be 'Russian' after upgrades - Manturov

MOSCOW. Aug 26 (Interfax) - The Ilyushin company will present a project for upgrading the Antonov An-124 Ruslan with Russian component parts by the end of this year, Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov told Interfax in an interview.

"The Ilyushin Design Bureau has been working on thoroughly upgrading the Antonov An-124-100M military transport aircraft since 2017, on the orders of the Russian Industry and Trade Ministry. The plane's radio-electronic equipment and general systems are being upgraded. The An-124 will be 'Russian' in the near future, once this is done," Manturov said.

"The technical project of the upgraded plane will be approved in the fourth quarter of 2019. The work is going according to plan," he said.

An-124 Ruslan, which was created by Ukraine's Antonov Design Bureau, is one of the biggest cargo planes in the world. Russia stopped building such planes in 2003 but continued to repair and maintain serviceability of the existent fleet. The Ulyanovsk Aircraft Plant has built a total of 36 An-124 planes.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov said in June 2018 that the An-124 fleet was to be upgraded. He additionally said that an engine to replace Ukraine's D-18t would soon be manufactured.

Manturov said later that the upgrading of the An-124 fleet would extend the existing planes' operation until the end of the 2040s.

As reported earlier, Ilyushin announced plans to modernize An-124 Ruslan by 2022. The Aviastar-SP in Ulyanovsk, which used to build Ruslan planes, will fulfill a contract with Ilyushin, transform An-124-100 into An-124-100M, and carry out its trials. According to materials posted on the public procurement website, the R&D project will cost about 3.5 billion rubles.

Antonov said earlier that only the plane designer "possesses full technical knowledge and information about the structure, characteristics, durability, service life, and airworthiness of An-124-100 planes, including test and analysis information required for ensuring the structure's integrity."