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Top 10 Largest Military Transport Aircraft

While there are many types of aircraft in the world, some of them are small while others are humongous beasts. Today for our readers we have collected a list of the top 10 largest Military transport aircraft in the world. We have made this list based on our analysis of the following main points about each aircraft.

  • Specifications
  • Technical comparison
  • Size
  • Payload capacity

So without further ado, here is our list of the Top 10 largest military aircraft in the world.

Antonov An-124 Ruslan




The first on our list is the Antonov An-124 Ruslan whose NATO designated name is Condor. The aircraft has been named after the legendary giant in Russian mythology. The aircraft is in its design is quite similar to the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy.

The aircraft’s manufacturing started back in 1971 and was ready for the first flight back in 1987. Russian Air Force has manufactured a total of 54 Antonov An-124 Ruslans so far which were all delivered for active duty back in 1995.

The maximum payload capacity of this aircraft is 150 tons and this strategic airlifter is capable of carrying almost any kind of payload like the following for example.

  • Combat vehicles
  • Helicopters
  • Oversized

Lockheed Martin’s C-5M Super Galaxy

Next up on our list is the Lockheed Martin’s C-5M Super Galaxy which is the main transport aircraft for the US that is equipped to be a strategic airlifter. The first of the Lockheed Martin’s C-5M Super Galaxy was delivered to USAF back in 1969 and since then nearly 131 of these giants have been made. Some of these new models are actually made faster along with having more range as well as have the ability to carry a heavier payload.

The aircraft has the ability to have its cavernous interior to be rolled on or off from both ends of the aircraft. The maximum payload carrying limit of this aircraft is nearly 130 tons.

Antonov An-22

The title for being the world’s largest aircraft with turboprop ability goes to the Antonov An-22 which as introduced into active duty back in 1965. At that time it was the largest aircraft of the world and served for the Soviet Air Force. The aircraft was not mass produced despite its many benefits.

The aircraft is able to have a payload capacity of 80 tons. For comparison consider this, it can easily carry 4 of the BMD-2 airborne vehicles.

At the moment there are only 6 of these aircraft are available for active duty in Russian Air Force.

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III

The next aircraft is also the main airlifter of the USAF and the name of this behemoth is Boeing C-17 Globemaster III that is used for regular airlift missions by USAF across the globe. The aircraft was up and ready for active duty back in the early 90s and was intended to replace the Lockheed C-141 Starlifter. USAF ordered the manufacture of 250 of these Boeing C-17 Globemaster IIIs and is used by not only USAF but also the rest of the world.

The aircraft has the payload lifting capacity of 76.6 tons. For comparison, it can easily lift any of the following payloads.

  • M1A2 Abrams Tank
  • 3 Stryker 8*8 armored vehicles
  • 3 AH-64 Apache Helicopters

Xian Y-20

The Xian Y-20 is the new generation transport aircraft for the Chinese Air Force and was a result of the efforts from Xian Aircraft Corporation along with the assistance of countries like Russia as well as Ukraine. The aircraft’s development started back in 2006 when it became a national priority program. It was up and running by 2013.

The aircraft’s own weight is 200 tons which made China stand in the line of following countries having such aircraft.

  • Russia
  • USA
  • Ukraine

The aircraft has a total payload lifting capacity in between 60 to 66 tons. The aircraft is mostly used for carrying payloads like Type 99 series tanks. While carrying the maximum payload, the aircraft can have a range to travel to the most far away following regions from China.

  • Europe
  • Africa
  • Australia
  • Alaska

Ilyushin Il-76

The first strategic transport airlifter for the Soviet that came with four jet engines was the Ilyushin Il-76 whose NATO designation is Candid. Soviets actually built 800 of these huge airlifters and were the main backbone of the Soviets during the Cold War era.

The aircraft has a maximum payload carrying capacity of 50 tons and was mostly used for delivery of the following payload.

  • Heavy vehicles
  • Machinery

Kawasaki C-2

The Kawasaki C-2 Is the pride and joy of the Japanese Air Force as their medium range strategic transport aircraft. The very first of this aircraft was in operational service by 2016. Japan expects the delivery of nearly 30 to 40 of these behemoths of an aircraft. The plan for their manufacturing is to replace the older generation Kawasaki C-1s and Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules as the Japans’ current tactical transport planes.

Airbus A400M

The Airbus A400M is not a property of any one country as it happens to be a project of international level. The aircraft took its first flight back in 2009 and had been ordered for delivery by almost 10 countries. Following are the countries and their respective delivery orders for the Airbus A400M.

  • Germany expects delivery of 60 Airbus A400M
  • France expects delivery of 50 Airbus A400M
  • Spain expects delivery of 27 Airbus A400M
  • UK expects delivery of 25 Airbus A400M
  • Turkey expects delivery of 10 Airbus A400M

The aircraft has a maximum payload carrying capacity of 37 tons.

Shaanxi Y-9

The Shaanxi Y-9 was started for manufacturing in China back in 2001 in order to replace the older fleet of Y-8 transport aircraft fleet. The plan is to make an aircraft that is similar to functioning to the C-130J Super Hercules. The aircraft was up and ready for its official duty back in 2012.

It has a maximum payload carrying capacity of 25000 kilograms but can take an overload of nearly 30000 kilograms.

Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules

The Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules is one of the most prized creations from the famed Lockheed Martin. The aircraft is an improvement of the previous C-130 Hercules and made its first flight back in 1996. The aircraft since then has entered in mass production and nearly 280 of these aircraft are in the active duty of USAF since 2014 with many of them also being exported to other countries.

This aircraft has the payload carrying capacity of 19 tons and can carry the following type of payloads.

  • 92 soldiers
  • 6 pallets
  • 2 to 3 HMMWVs
  • 1 M113 armored personnel carrier

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