Air Transportation: Russia Times Out


February 29, 2008:
All but a few dozen
of Russia's 300 military air transports will have to be retired in the next
seven years. These are aircraft (An-12, An-72, An-124 and Il-76) that entered
service in the 1960s and 70s. This is according to the Russian government,
which has to decide to either put these aircraft through expensive
refurbishment, or buy new aircraft. The An-124s and Il-76s are the most likely
to get rebuilt, and the revival of the An-70 project would provide new aircraft
to replace elderly An-12s, and expensive-to-operate An-72s. But refurbishment
would only extend the life of elderly
aircraft by about ten years. New ones are good for up to 30 years. The Russian
transport fleet was getting old even when the Cold War ended. Lack of use
during the 1990s, helped some of those old birds survive a little longer. But
now, with rebuilding the military a top priority, the transports will have more
to do.


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