Russia AN 22 RF 09309 credit Alexander Listopad 640An-22 to be retired

In 2024, the Russian Federation - Aerospace Forces (RF VKS) will cease operations of the world's largest turboprop aircraft, the Antonov An-22 'Antei' (NATO reporting name: 'Cock'). The transporter is operated by the 8th Military Transport Aviation Regiment (8 VTAP), part of the 12th Mginska Krasnoznamennaya Military Transport Aircraft Division. Scramble Magazine assesses that less than five An-22s are still active.

Early June, Lieutenant General Vladimir Benediktov, the commander of military transport aviation, made the announcement, highlighting the significance of Tver/Migalovo, the unofficial capital of Russian military transport aviation. “The 12th Division is stationed here. It currently operates the An-124, and before that, we had the legendary 'Antei', whose operation we are ending this year,” Benediktov stated.

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. The An-22 first took to the skies on 27 February 1965. Known for its exceptional flight capabilities and the ability to operate from unpaved runways, the transporter 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. The "Antei" is designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in the Soviet Union. Powered by four turboprop engines, each driving a pair of contra-rotating propellers, the design was the first wide-body transport aircraft and remains the world's largest turboprop-powered aircraft to date. The An-22 first appeared publicly outside the Soviet Union at the 1965 Paris Air Show.

For detailed information on the Antonov An-22 we refer to the Scramble Magazine Soviet database.

Credit photo: Alexander Listopad (via

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