Antonov Airlines flies four Apache AH-64E Attack Helicopters on behalf of Boeing, from Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport (AZA), to Hindan Airforce Base (VIDX) in India.
The project required special planning and execution due to complex geopolitical issues affecting the flightpath of the cargo.
An Antonov Airlines AN-124-100, which can accommodate up to five Apache helicopters, transported the aircraft, with a total payload of 39 tonnes including their dismantled rotor blades.
“The Antonov Airlines team was responsive and willing to support deadlines while applying for the complex overflight permits required for military cargo,” says Jon Roland, Boeing program manager.
“Antonov Airlines partnered with us to secure the required clearance and permissions, creating a cooperative environment to ensure smooth delivery,” he adds.
The Antonov and Boeing engineers collaborated closely on mission planning in real time during the loading process.
“We worked out how to best use the available space during loading to safely transport the cargo,” says Amnon Ehrlich, commercial director, Antonov Airlines USA.
“We also took into consideration the high summer temperatures in Arizona while planning the move. The loading started in the early hours to avoid the high temperatures. Following a night-time departure, the mission was completed 24 hours later,” Ehrlich adds.
Boeing has already contracted Antonov Airlines for further Apache helicopter shipments later this year.