Ukrainian-Russian Company Wins NATO Air Transportation Bid
Kyiv, July 10, 2012. Joint Ukraine-Russia Ruslan SALIS GmbH will provide air transportation services to the NATO project Strategic Airlift Interim Solution (SALIS). The company has been a long-term partner of the project, and now it won another two-year bid as the only company that fully satisfies technical requirements of the tender.
NATO Maintenance Supply Agency (NAMSA) will contract Ruslan SALIS for 2013-2014. NATO has been cooperating with Ruslan SALIS since early 2006, when 15 countries signed a EUR 600 million contract with the company regarding cargo transportation. The initial agreement had been prolonged twice – at the end of 2008 and 2010 – for two additional years.
Ruslan SALIS provides SALIS with Antonov An-124-100 Ruslan planes. The model is a modification of the military carrier An-124 that conforms with the safety requirements for commercial flights to civil airports. Cargo capacity of the plane is 120 tons. Two An-124-100s are based in Germany at SALIS instant disposal, while four additional aircrafts are provided upon request – on six and nine days’ notice.
An-124-100s are capable of handling outsize (unusually large) cargo, informs nato.int. The planes are used for at least 2000 flying hours per year. NATO uses the planes to transport troops to and from Afghanistan and peacekeepers in and out of Darfur, as well as to deliver aid to the victims of October 2005 earthquake in Pakistan.
Ukraine cooperates with NATO on a regular basis. Currently, 10 Ukrainian officers are working in Iraq as part of NATO training mission. Additionally, Ukraine is contributing to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). For example, Ukraine is involved in peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan. 22 Ukrainian peacekeepers are stationed in Afghanistan.
In April 2012, Ukraine announced its decision to take part in NATO’s anti-pirate operation. Ukraine has become the first non-NATO-member country to join the Ocean Shield operation. The frigate, whose main objective is to counter maritime piracy, will be assigned to the NATO naval command in 2013.