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Ruslan heavy cargo plane needs $165 mln to resume production

MOSCOW, June 24 (RIA Novosti) - It will take 4 billion rubles ($165 million) and at least 40 solid orders to resume production of the An-124 Ruslan (Condor) heavy-lift cargo plane, the RBK daily said on Tuesday citing a feasibility study.

According to RBK daily, demand is fairly high for the aircraft, with an estimated 70 potential orders until 2030 at a current cost of $150-160 million each.

The feasibility study, which was carried out by Russia's United Aircraft Corporation and Ernst & Young, stated that An-124s could be manufactured at Ulyanovsk-based Aviastar from 2012 at a rate of one to two a year.

If 40 firm orders are secured, a business plan would be drafted and a loan sought from a bank, possibly VTB, Russia's second largest bank.

In April, Russia and Ukraine agreed to resume production of the An-124 in 2008.

The An-124 was designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in 1982 and was the world's largest transport plane until production of the Airbus A380 began earlier this decade. It was produced in Kiev and Ulyanovsk until 1995. The plane has a maximum payload of 150 tons with a flight range of around 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles).

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