Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Russia to retire legendary An-22 turboprop plane

The Russian Aerospace Forces’ military transport aviation will cease operations of the world’s largest turboprop aircraft, the An-22 “Antey,” starting in 2024.

This decision marks the end of an era for the legendary aircraft, which has played a pivotal role in both military and civilian operations for nearly six decades.

Lieutenant General Vladimir Benediktov, the commander of military transport aviation, made the announcement, highlighting the significance of Tver, the unofficial capital of Russian military transport aviation. “The 12th division, known as the heaviest division in the world, is stationed here. It currently operates the An-124, and before that, we had the legendary ‘Antey’ (An-22), whose operation we are ending this year,” Benediktov stated.

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The An-22 first took to the skies on February 27, 1965. Known for its exceptional flight capabilities and the ability to operate from unpaved runways, the An-22 became an indispensable asset for transporting oversized cargo and equipment to remote and hard-to-reach areas in the Soviet Union. Its high payload capacity, long-range, and fuel-efficient engines made it economically viable for various heavy transport missions.

Between 1965 and 1976, 66 An-22 aircraft were produced at the Tashkent Aviation Plant in Uzbekistan. Of these, approximately 60 were integrated into the Russian military transport fleet, with some remaining in Ukraine following the Soviet Union’s dissolution.

However, the aircraft’s service life has come to an end. “Out of the 60 aircraft we had, some remained in Ukraine, and the rest were operated by our transport fleet,” Benediktov noted.

The An-22’s retirement coincides with the earlier loss of the only An-22 in Ukraine, which was destroyed along with the iconic An-225 “Mriya” during the Russian occupation of Hostomel in February 2022.

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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

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