A Ukrainian-made Antonov An-124 Ruslan aircraft operated by Antonov Airlines delivered the first batch of U.S.-made HIMARS multiple rocket launchers procured by the Polish Army. The Warsaw Chopin Airport, where the launchers arrived, posted photographs of the first five HIMARSs out of the 500 ordered for the Polish Armed Forces.
The Polish military ordered the HIMARS launchers to be delivered by a Ruslan aircraft because it is currently the world’s largest cargo aircraft.
The An-124 that carried the multiple launch rocket systems from the United States to Poland had "Be brave like Kherson" written on it.
Since the Ruslan is the world’s largest cargo aircraft, it can carry non-standard cargo, including oversized and heavy items. This was the reason the Polish military chose the delivery option.
Antonov Airlines currently operates five An-124 aircraft. The company’s fleet is based in Leipzig, Germany. During the Russian occupation of Antonov’s base airfield in Hostomel, one of its Ruslans was damaged. The airliner was in a hangar at the airport when the Russian invasion started.
The An-225 Mriya operated by Antonov Airlines had been the world’s largest aircraft until February 2022. After the airliner was destroyed in Hostomel during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, An-124 succeeded as the holder of the title.