NATO reporting name: Condor

TYPE: Long-range heavy-lift four-turbofan freight transport.

PROGRAMME: Prototype (SSSR-680125) first flew 26 December 1982; second prototype (SSSR-82002 Ruslan, named after giant hero of Russian folklore immortalised by Pushkin) exhibited 1985 Paris Air Show; lifted payload of 171,219 kg (377,473 lb) to 10,750 m (35,269 ft) on 26 July 1985, exceeding by 53 per cent C-5A Galaxy's record for payload lifted to 2,000 m and setting 20 more records; entered service January 1986, transporting units of US Canadian Euclid 154 tonne dumper truck for Yakut diamond miners; set closed circuit distance record 6-7 May 1987 by flying 10,880.625 nm (20,150.921 km; 12,521.201 miles) around the western USSR in 25 h 30 mins; deliveries to VTA to replace An-22, began 1987; production continues, at Ulyanovsk and Kiev (as of 1991).

CUSTOMERS: In early 1991 deliveries totalled 26, including prototypes: 23 to VTA, with three available to Air Foyle, UK, for charter operations.

DESIGN FEATURES: World's largest production aircraft; configuration similar to Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, except for low-mounted tailplane; upward hinged visor type nose and rear fuselage ramp door for simultaneous front and rear loading unloading; 100 per cent fly-by-wire control system; titanium floor throughout constant-section main hold, which is lightly pressurised, with a fully pressurised cabin for passengers above; landing gear for operation from unprepared fields, hard packed snow and ice covered swampland; steerable nose- and mainwheels permit turns on 45 m (148 ft) wide runway; supercritical wings, with anhedral; sweepback approx 35° on inboard leading-edge, 32° outboard; all tail surfaces sweptback

FLYING CONTROLS: Fly-by-wire, with all surfaces hydraulically actuated, two-section aileron, three-section single-slotted Fowler flaps and six-section full-span leading-edge flaps on each wing; small slot in outer part of two inner flap sections each side to optimise aerodynamics; eight spoilers on each wing, forward of trailing-edge flaps; no wing fences, vortex generators or tabs, hydraulic flutter dampers on ailerons; rudder and each elevator in two sections, without tabs but with hydraulic flutter dampers; fixed incidence tailplane; control runs (and other services) channelled along fuselage roof.

STRUCTURE: Basically conventional light alloy, but 5,500 kg (12,125 lb) of composites make up more than 1,500 m² (16,150 sq ft) of surface area, giving weight saving of more than 2,000 kg (4,410 lb); each wing has one-piece root-to-tip upper surface extruded skin panel, strip of carbonfibre skin panels on undersurface forward of control surfaces, and glassfibre tip; front and rear of each flap guide fairing of glassfibre, centre portion of carbonfibre; central frames of semi-monocoque fuselage each comprise four large forgings; fairings over intersection of fuselage double-bubble lobes in line with wing, from rear of flight deck to plane of fin leading-edge, primarily of glassfibre, with central, and lower underwing, portions of carbonfibre; other glassfibre components include tailplane tips, nosecone, tailcone and most bottom skin panels forming blister underfairing between main landing gear legs; carbonfibre components include strips of skin panels forward of each tail control surface, nose and main landing gear doors, some service doors, and clamshell doors aft of rear loading ramp.

LANDING GEAR: Hydraulically retractable nosewheel type, with total of 24 wheels. Nose gear comprises two independent forward retracting and steerable twin-wheel units, side by side. Each main gear comprises five independent inward retracting twin-wheel units, of which the front two units on each side are steerable. Each mainwheel bogie is enclosed by separate upper and lower doors when retracted. Nosewheel doors and lower mainwheel doors close when gear is extended. All wheel doors are of carbonfibre. Main gear bogies can be retracted individually for repair or wheel change. Mainwheel tyres size 1,270 x 510 mm. Nosewheel tyres size 1,120 x 450 mm. Aircraft can 'kneel', by retracting nosewheels and settling on two extendable 'feet', giving floor of hold a 3.5° slope to assist loading and unloading. Rear of cargo hold can be lowered by compressing main gear oleos. Carbon brakes are normally toe operated, via rudder pedals. For severe braking, pedals are depressed by both toes and heels.

POWER PLANT: Four Zaporozhye/Lotarev D-18T turbofans, each rated at 229.5 kN (51.590 lb st). Thrust reversers standard. Engine cowlings of glassfibre; pylons have carbonfibre skin at rear end. All fuel in ten integral tanks in wings.

ACCOMMODATION: All crew and passenger accommodation on upper deck; freight and/or vehicles on lower deck. Flight crew of six, in pairs, on flight deck, with place for loadmaster in lobby area. Pilot and co-pilot on fully adjustable seats, which rotate for improved access. Two flight engineers, on wall-facing seats on starboard side, have complete control of master fuel cocks, detailed systems instruments, and digital integrated data system with CRT monitor. Behind pilot are the navigator and communications specialist, also on wall-facing seats. Between flight deck and wing carry-through structure, on port side, are toilets, washing facilities, galley, equipment compartment, and two cabins for total of up to six relief crew, with table and facing bench seats convertible into bunks. Aft of wing carry-through is a passenger cabin for up to 88 persons. Hatches in upper deck provide access to the wing and tail unit for maintenance in places where workstands may not be available. Flight deck and passenger cabin are each accessible from cargo hold by means of an hydraulically folding ladder, operated automatically with manual override. Rearward sliding and jettisonable window on each side of flight deck. Primary access to flight deck via airstair door, with ladder extension, forward of wing on port side. Smaller door forward of this and slightly higher. Door from main hold aft of wing on starboard side. Upper deck doors at rear of flight deck on starboard side and at rear of passenger cabin on each side. Emergency exit from upper deck aft of wing on each side. Hydraulically operated visor type upward hinged nose takes 7 min to open fully, with simultaneous extension of folding nose loading ramp. When open, nose is steadied by reinforcing arms against wind gusts. No hydraulic, electrical or other system lines are broken when nose is open. Radar wiring passes through hollow tube in hinge. Hydraulically operated rear loading doors take 3 min to open, with simultaneous extension of three-part folding ramp. This can be locked in intermediate position for direct loading from truck or loading galley. Aft of ramp, centre panel of fuselage undersurface hinges upward; clamshell door to each side opens downward. Completely unobstructed lower deck freight hold has titanium floor, attached 'mobilely' to lower fuselage structure to accommodate changes of temperature, with rollgangs and retractable attachments for cargo tiedowns. A narrow catwalk along each sidewall facilitates access to, and mobility past, loaded freight. Payloads can include largest Soviet main battle tanks, complete missile systems, Siberian oil well equipment and earth movers. No personnel are carried normally on lower deck in flight, because of low pressurisation of hold. Two electric travelling cranes in roof of hold, each with two lifting points, offer total lifting capacity of 20,000 kg (44,100 lb). Two winches can each pull a 3,000 kg (6,614 lb) load.

SYSTEMS: Entire interior of aircraft is pressurised and air-conditioned. Max pressure differential 0.55 bars (7.8 lb/sq in) on upper deck, 0.25 bars (3.55 lb/sq in) on lower deck. Four independent hydraulic systems. Quadruple redundant fly-by-wire flight control system, with mechanical emergency fifth channel to hydraulic control servos. Special secondary bus electrical system. Landing lights under nose and at front of each main landing gear fairing. APU in rear of each landing gear fairing is used for engine starting, and can be operated in the air or on the ground to open loading doors for airdrop from rear or normal ground loading/unloading, as well as for supplying electrical, hydraulic and air-conditioning systems. Bleed air anti-icing of wing leading-edges. Electro-impulse de-icing of fin and tailplane leading-edges.

AVIONICS: Comprehensive but conventional flight deck equipment, including automatic flight control system control panel at top of glareshield, weather radar screen and moving map display forward of throttle and thrust reverse levers on centre console. No electronic flight displays. Dual attitude indicator/flight director and HSIs, and vertical tape engine instruments. Two dielectric areas of nose visor enclose forward looking weather radar and downward looking ground mapping/navigation radar. Hemispherical dielectric fairing above centre fuselage for satellite navigation receiver. Quadruple INS, plus Loran and Omega.

EQUIPMENT: Small two-face mirror, of V form, enables pilots to adjust their seating position until their eyes are reflected in the appropriate mirror, which ensures an optimum field of view from the flight deck.