The giant Russian Antonov 124 will visit Brisbane International, carrying two naval combat NH90 NATO frigate helicopters on its giant cargo deck. The arrival of the aircraft has been organised by Australian Aerospace, Australia's only helicopter manufacturer, and NH Industries, the prime contractor for the NH90 helicopter.
The Antonov 124 has a wingspan of 73.5 metres, a little shy of its big brother the Antonov 225, which spans 88 metres. The Antonov is about the same size as the Airbus A380.
The six-engined Antonov strategic airlifter is commercially available to carry oversized payloads anywhere in the world due to its massive cargo deck.
The Canadian military is using an Antonov to carry relief supplies to earthquake-stricken Haiti.
The Anatov 124 was developed foremost as a military transport aircraft to replace the aging AN-22, designed by Russia in the 1950s.
About Antonov AN-124
The Antonov An-124 Ruslan (Ukrainian and Russian: Антонов Ан-124 «Руслан») (NATO reporting name: 'Condor') was the largest airplane in production until the Antonov An-225 was built. During development it was known, in house, as Izdeliye 400 and An-40 in the West. First flown in 1982, civil certification was issued by the CIS Interstate Aviation Committee on 30 December 1992. Over forty are currently in service (26 civilian models with airlines and 10 firm orders as of August 2006) and 20 were in commercial use in 1998 in Ukraine, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Libya.