It is well-known that the AN-124 does not have a long future ahead of it – and while the world does need a giant freighter, no one wants to pay to design and make a new one. But according to CargoForwarderIluyshin may be in the poll position to do so. Its IL-96 is a large passenger aircraft, used by the Russian president, but which has attracted few other customers. But the manufacturer could produce a heavyweight freighter version of the aircraft, in a project dubbed Il-96-500T Elephant, or the Russian Beluga, which could be used to transport Russian space equipment for the government, as well as commercial loads. There are plans to produce six for the Russian military and four to the space agency, with first deliveries beginning in 2026. 

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