FOR SALE: Russian Cargo Jets


The Russian Air Force is preparing to sell off its entire fleet of giant An-124 heavy cargo aircraft. Given the NATO-U.S. code name Condor, the Antonov An-124 aircraft is slightly larger than the U.S. Air Force C-5 Galaxy transports. There are 21 of the An-124s available for commercial sale.

The An-124-100M-150 model is capable of transporting single or multiple items of cargo weighing up to 150 metric tons (330,000 pounds) including such outsize items as construction vehicles and missiles. The An-124, for example, is the only aircraft that can carry the Boeing 777’s new GE90 engines.

The civil An-124-100 was certified in 1992, and meets all civil standards including ICAO Stage/Chapter III noise limits and modern navigational equipment requirements. From a commercial viewpoint, the efficiency of the An-124 can be seen by its ability to carry roughly twice the cargo of a U.S. C-17 Globemaster at a significantly lower operating cost per aircraft. The An-124 has more than 14 years experience of intensive, global commercial operations.

The major problem with Russian commercial aircraft in the past has been the poor after-sales support in comparison with Western manufacturers. The Antonov organization is developing a support capability similar to those of Western aviation firms and an Antonov support facility was recently opened in Leipzig, Germany.

Aviation industry sources indicate that Russian Minister of Defense Anatoly Serdyukov has offered four An-124s for sale in the near-term, with the remainder to follow before the end of 2007.

The Russian Air Force ceased flying its 21 An-124s in December 2005 and the aircraft have been grounded since that time. Currently, NATO leases six other Russian and Ukrainian An-124-100 cargo aircraft under an arrangement known as the Strategic Airlift Interim Solution (SALIS).

In the future NATO will use C-17 cargo aircraft to help relieve its severe airlift shortage.

Norman Polmar

  • Foreign.Boy

    This really sucks.
    Canada was recently looking for a ‘heavy cargo plane’ and considered this beast. The problem was is they wanted to lease it to them and refused to sell it.
    Now.. they got a bunch they want to sell.

    • Gabriel

      Can you advise WHO in Canada was looking for the AN 124?

  • Jeff

    So this thing can carry two M1 Abrams? Why not buy these puppies up and use them to transport 42 M1s into theater (wherever that may be)?

  • mike

    No way in a million years would DND have gone for Russian airplanes when they can send the money to US firms who can hire them as lobbyists later.
    Yes, Minister O’Connor, I’m talking to you.

  • George Skinner

    I don’t buy the idea of a lower operating cost. Russian engines aren’t as efficient or as reliable as Western designs, and this plane requires a bigger crew. Add on top of that that Russian military aircraft are generally meant for short wartime operating lives, and it’s hard to imagine how the An-124 has an advantage other than it’s cheaper to purchase in the first place. The An-124 has found a niche for itself in the commercial market because there’s no real alternative available for heavy airlift (everything else is almost exclusively military), and there were a lot of these planes available and already paid for when the Soviet Union collapsed.

  • j house

    With demand in the oil and gas drilling equipment business at an all time high, there may be a need to have a few of these heavy lift aircraft needed to deliver rigs and other heavy, out-sized equipment world-wide.
    I’ve seen them parked in Calgary and the Amsterdam airport used for this very purpose.
    it may be true that they are inefficient compared to more modern heavy lift aircraft, but you sure can stuff alot inside it and you’ll probably only require one load.
    This may be pretty good timing by the Russians to unload them.
    Perhaps someone can put a gym in one and start a mile high basketball league, or, turn it onto a concert-hall sized vomit comet.

  • j house

    It would be even wilder if we purchased one and installed the airborne optical laser in it for use as a BMD (given the size and weight of the laser and fuel, we may need it).

  • Mastro

    I don’t buy the idea of a lower operating cost
    Neither do I- the Russians had all the spares and weren’t marking them up for their own use- that’s all.
    There’s a reason they are selling them-
    That said -if you get a reasonable supply of spare parts, and a good inspection pans out- they might be worth it-

  • Roger Langille

    How can I contact them about these aircraft, I am interested in buying these for Heavy Lift Aircraft for service to the Oil and Gas, mining and metals, power production and others with heavy lift needs !

    • The Davis boneyards have many of these aircraft. I recommend hiring a buyers agent to locate EXACTLY what you need. Be sure and have a trusted aircraft engineer inspect the aircraft prior to purchase. Let your accountant know that you are buying a military aircraft so they can set up a depreciation schedule, anticipated fuel costs, and P&L statement to assure your profits will exceed your expenses.

  • stephen russell

    Markets for these planes:
    International Rescue aid missions
    Air Cargo
    TV & Movie use.
    Disaster relief.
    heavy industrial loads.
    Test plane
    Or Museum planes
    BUT given IF to fly US UK engines & avionics & test airframe out.
    Need about 100.

  • blight

    This is defensetech, not craigslist.

  • Bryan

    How much are they asking for them?

  • mohammed qanai

    am mohammed al qanai from kuwait i have seen the 224 working like havey loud truks on land they way they are belt is reallly nice and in regards to spare parts or engines stuff , i can say one thing, we are in 2011 and not in the 1950 planes can always modified and up gradid like the b52 and others abd it is the main frame and body thats counts and you can play with the engines or in the control
    and by the way i have been on board one of thous babs and the pilet was using hand held GBS and his eyes only and russian engines is like diesel engines

  • igor ivanov
  • Awesome observation of uses. I noticed a lot of ex PMC’s have a tendency to buy military planes & ships to start businesses doing some of the above tasks. If your in this category & you have the spare “100” laying around. There WILL be extra expenses. Banks exist for a reason, and you can get loans to buy aircraft, and financial instruments that will auto pay fuel expenses. Just like buying a house, you should make cash work for you. Get a loan for the plane. Don’t forget to hire professional buyers agent, and a trusted engineer who knows planes to inspect the aircraft prior to purchase. If your goal is to buy an ex military vehicle, I also recommend hiring a good accountant to provide you with a plan to achieve the goal of purchasing a big ticket depreciable item. A good accountant will be able to find cost reductions for medical uses, disaster relief, and other business expenses for your multi million dollar aircraft. Good luck and best wishes.