Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Russia returns aircraft from boneyard for war in Ukraine

Russia returns heavy transport planes from the airplane cemetery, known as the “boneyard,” due to a dearth of transport capabilities necessary for its ongoing war in Ukraine.

Recent reports from Russian media outlets reveal that the huge AN-124 Condor cargo aircraft has been transported to the Aviastar aircraft plant at Ulyanovsk-East Airport for extensive refurbishment and modernization after nearly 25 years of dormancy in aviation storage facilities.

The decision to rehabilitate these aircraft underscores the critical need for robust transport capabilities amid current challenges in material and technical support and military logistics infrastructure.


The cargo capacity and strategic airlift capabilities of the An-124 play a pivotal role in addressing logistical challenges, facilitating the rapid and efficient transportation of fuel, ammunition, spare parts, and other essential materials to deployed units. These challenges have intensified due to operational exigencies in Ukraine, where Russian military logistics have encountered difficulties in sustaining supply lines.

Significantly, both the aircraft and its engines were manufactured in Ukraine. However, following the annexation of Crimea, Ukrainian support for Moscow’s An-124 heavy transport aircraft fleet ceased.

Previously, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated that the repair and modernization of An-124 heavy military transport aircraft would extend their operational lifespan to 45 years.

Shoigu highlighted that the overhaul of D-18T engines, utilized in the An-124, is conducted by the Ural Civil Aviation Plant on behalf of the Ministry of Defense.

Moreover, Shoigu emphasized the successful implementation of import substitution measures for components of the Ukrainian-produced D-18T engine. To date, 49 refurbished engines have been put into operation.

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Executive Editor

About author:

Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov is the editor-in-chief of Defence Blog. He is a journalist, an accredited defense advisor, and a consultant. His background as a defense advisor and consultant adds a unique perspective to his journalistic endeavors, ensuring that his reporting is well-informed and authoritative. read more