Ukraine’s Antonov Airlines, one of the world’s leading operators of the heavy transport AN-124-100 Ruslan aircraft, to continue cooperation under Strategic Airlift Interim Solution (SALIS) in support of NATO and European Union operations.
The press service of the Antonov State Company announced on his Facebook page on 4 January that a respective contract on the use of AN-124-100 heavy transport aircraft under the SALIS program has been extended for another three years until December 31, 2021
“In accordance with the contractual obligations, starting from January 1, 2019, the Antonov State Company provides two An-24-100 Ruslan aircraft on a regular basis to carry out air transportation flights in favor of the SALIS program participants,” the press service said.
NATO member countries are pooling their resources to charter special aircraft that give the Alliance the capability to transport troops, equipment and supplies across the globe. Robust strategic airlift capabilities are vital to ensure that NATO countries are able to deploy their forces and equipment rapidly to wherever they are needed.
A multinational consortium of 10 countries is chartering Antonov AN-124-100 aircraft as a Strategic Airlift International Solution (SALIS). SALIS provides assured access to up to AN-124-100 aircraft (mission-ready in case of crisis) in support of NATO and European Union operations.
The SALIS contracts provide two Antonov AN-124-100 aircraft on charter, two more on six days’ notice and another two on nine days’ notice. The consortium countries have committed to using the aircraft for a minimum of 1,600 flying hours per year.
A single Antonov AN-124-100 can carry up to 120 tons of cargo. SALIS participating countries have used Antonov aircraft in the past to transport equipment to and from Afghanistan, deliver aid to the victims of the October 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, and airlift African Union peacekeepers in and out of Darfur.