Ruslan handed a heavy air cargo which was unique in terms of its size, weight and shape

In a first of its kind, the company transported a 70-tonne stripping tower from the US to Iraq

Ruslan International (Ruslan) has demonstrated its unrivalled capability in the field of heavy air cargo with the transportation of a 70 tonne oil industry stripping tower from the US to Iraq.

Many thought the operation impossible due to the length of the cargo and the need for it to be transported in one single piece, but Ruslan in partnership with Volga-Dnepr Engineering Logistics Centre, proved them wrong. The airlift from Bakersfield, California to Erbil, Iraq was performed by one of Ruslan’s 17-strong fleet of AN-124-100 aircraft – following more than a month of meticulous planning.

The tower was transported on behalf of the Taq Taq Operating Company Ltd for use in the Taq Taq oil field in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. The delivery was time critical, to enable operations at the refinery to begin as soon as possible. Every day that it remained in the US cost 40,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) resulting in a significant loss of revenue for the client.

Perhaps the most significant challenge was the fact that the cargo was technically longer than the floor of the aircraft by almost two metres. The tower also had no authorised attachment or lifting points, and could not be cut, as this would compromise structural integrity and waste time.

To overcome these challenges Ruslan International’s US representative, Volga-Dnepr Unique Air Cargo (VDUAC), designed two transportation cradles using 3D modelling technology. This allowed the tower to be loaded on to the aircraft via the ramp and rail system used by the AN-124-100.

The airlift was performed by one of Ruslan’s 17-strong fleet of
AN-124-100 aircraft

Ultimately, the cradles ensured that all transportation requirements, load bearing concerns, restraint criteria for G-Force restrictions and tie-down requirements of the AN-124-100 were met, culminating in the successful completion of the lift.

Colon Miller, director of government and defense programmess for Volga-Dnepr Unique Air Cargo, says: "When we first took on this project, we were met with detractors from all sides.

"The cargo was unique in terms of its size, weight and shape, but thanks to the hard work and problem-solving skills of the engineering team, and everyone involved in this project, we’ve managed to make the impossible possible."

Dmitry Grishin, vice president of sales for Ruslan International, adds: "This achievement reinforces Ruslan International’s credentials as leaders in heavy and outsize air cargo, with the capability to move complex components quickly so that major projects can happen on time."