The North Atlantic Alliance has again chosen the aircraft of the Ukrainian state-owned enterprise Antonov for strategic airlift. The parties have signed a new contract for five years.
"For the first time in many years of fruitful cooperation, a 5-year contract has been signed on the use of the Antonov aircraft fleet for strategic airlift in the interests of NATO and EU countries under the Strategic Airlift International Solution (SALIS) program," the Antonov press service reports.
The NATO website notes that the agreement provides for access to the following aircraft: An-124-100 Ruslan, An-225 Mriya, An-22 Antei, and Il-76. Under the terms of the contract, the consortium members undertake to fly at least 1,600 hours per year.
Context. Aircraft of the Ukrainian Antonov have been taking part in SALIS since 2006. The last contract, signed in 2019, was for three years. According to its terms, the Ukrainian enterprise provided two An-124-100 Ruslan aircraft for airlift in the interests of the EU and NATO member states. Each such aircraft is capable of carrying up to 120 tons of cargo.
The Czech Republic, Belgium, Germany, France, Norway, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Slovenia take part in the SALIS program.