Kiev - Ukraine’s state-owned aircraft manufacturer Antonov will restart the production of the heavy transport aircraft An-124 Ruslan. The assembly of the first aircraft may begin before the end of 2019, according to the Ukrainian media.
Antonov's plan to relaunch the production of the An-124 was announced on the Ukrainian TV channel Direct by Sergei Omelchenko, First Deputy Director General of the state-run defense company Ukroboronprom.
Omelchenko said that Ukroboronprom is actively cooperating with several international companies to start the reproduction of the aircraft. He emphasized that the assembly will be carried out without the use of Russian components.
We are at the final stage of completing the entire electronic components, and we hope that they will be finally adopted by the engineering and design group of the Antonov to begin the assembly of the first aircraft this year,
Recall that Antonov has signed an agreement with Boeing subsidiary Aviall for the serial production of manufacturer's new generation regional jets An-148/158/178s. According to the agreement, Aviall will supply Antonov a wide range of components for mass-production of the planes and provide after-sales support.
The An-124 Ruslan is the largest military transport aircraft currently in service. It includes many Russian components. The certification for the commercial use of the aircraft was issued in 1992. In July 2013, there were 26 An-124 in commercial service with ten on order.
Today the An-124s are still used for civil and military transportation around the world. Nato extended lease term of the two AN-124 heavy transport aircraft as part of NATO's SALIS program. NATO's SALIS program enables the member countries in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to use AN-124s to conduct heavy transport operations such as forces and military equipment.
In 2014, the plans to resume joint production of the Antonov An-124 by Ukraine and Russia had been suspended because of the ongoing political tension between two countries. The only assembly line for An-124 at that time was Russia's Aviastar-SP in Ulianovsk.