The 10 biggest cargo aircraft

From the colossal Antonov An-225 to the Boeing 777F, aerospace-technology.com lists the world’s top 10 biggest cargo aircraft based on maximum take-off weight.


Antonov An-225

Antonov An-225 - 640,000kg

With a take-off weight of 640t the mammoth Antonov An-225 Mriya (NATO reporting name: Cossack) is the world's biggest civilian cargo aircraft. The super heavy transport air lifter, designed and built between 1984 and 1988, is currently in commercial service with Antonov Airlines.

It has a spacious cargo compartment 43.32m-long, 6.4m-wide and 4.4m-high, which allows it to carry heavy cargo weighing up to 250t. The An-225 is powered by six D-18T turbofans, which develop a thrust of 229.7kN each.

Boeing 747-8 Freighter - 447,700kg

The Boeing 747-8 Freighter or 747-8F, the cargo variant of the 747-8 airliner, was launched by Boeing in November 2005 and was first delivered to Cargolux in October 2011.

The 747-8F's cargo hold offers a volume of 853m3, which can accommodate a maximum revenue payload of 137t. Powered by four GEnx-2B67 engines, the aircraft achieves a maximum range of 7,630km (4,120nmi).

Boeing 747-400ERF

Boeing 747-400ERF - 412,770kg

The Boeing 747-400ERF (Extended Range Freighter), an all-cargo transport version of the 747-400ER jet airliner, first entered service with Air France in the second half of 2002.

The aircraft can carry a maximum revenue payload of 113t. Its power plant includes either four Pratt & Whitney PW4062A or four General Electric CF6-80C2-B5F engines, which enable a maximum range of 9,200km.

An-124-100M-150 - 402,000kg

The An-124-100M-150 from Antonov is an improved version of the AN-124-100 commercial cargo aircraft, which itself is based on the AN-124 Ruslan heavy military transport aircraft.

The aircraft's fuselage is strengthened to accommodate a single piece of cargo weighing up to 150t. The aircraft is powered by four Ivchenko-Progress D-18T III-series turbofan engines, which develop a take-off thrust of 229.7kN each.

Boeing 747-400F

Boeing 747-400F - 396,890kg

The Boeing 747-400F, an all-cargo transport version of the Boeing 747-400 aircraft, can transport a maximum revenue payload of 113t. The aircraft entered service with Cargolux in November 1993.

The aircraft features a large side cargo door and a unique nose door, ensuring rapid loading and off-loading of standard containers and pallets, or outsized cargo. Its power-plant can be equipped with either four Pratt & Whitney PW4062 or Rolls-Royce RB211-524H-T or four GE CF6-80C2-B5F engines.

747-400BCF - 394,625kg

The 747-400BCF (Boeing Converted Freighter), earlier known as the 747-400SF (Special Freighter), is a result of the 747-400 passenger-to-freighter conversion programme, which was launched in January 2004.

The first 747-400BCF of the conversion programme was handed over to Cathay Pacific Airways in December 2005. The aircraft can transport a revenue payload of 108t and has a design mission range of 7,576km (4,091nmi).

C-5M Super Galaxy

C-5M Super Galaxy - 381,018kg

The C-5M Super Galaxy, an improved variant of the C-5 Galaxy military transporter from Lockheed Martin, can carry a maximum payload of 129t constituting six MRAP vehicles or five helicopters.

The aircraft, which made service debut with the US Air Force in 2009, is the biggest military cargo aircraft in the USAF fleet. It is powered by four GE CF-80C2 engines, which develop a thrust of 225kN each.

Boeing 747-200 Freighter - 377,840kg

The Boeing 747-200F, an all-cargo transport variant of the 747-200 passenger aircraft, can carry a maximum payload of 110t. Boeing also developed 747-200SF, a special freighter variant with similar characteristics.

The 747-200F took into the skies for the first time in November 1971. The first 747-200F was delivered to Lufthansa in April 1972, while the last aircraft was handed over to Nippon Cargo in November 1991.

Boeing 747-300SF

Boeing 747-300SF - 377,800kg

The Boeing 747-300SF (Special Freighter), which was developed under the 747-300 modification programme, can carry 106t of revenue payload.

The first 747-300SF was delivered to Atlas Air in October 2000. The aircraft offers 26,600ft3 of cargo volume, which is equivalent to that of 747-200F. It is propelled by either four PW JT9D-7R4G2 engines or four GE CF6-80C2B1 or RR RB211-524D4 engines.

Boeing 747 Dreamlifter / 747-400 Large Cargo Freighter - 364,235kg

The Boeing 747 Dreamlifter, also known as 747-400LCF (Large Cargo Freighter), has been designed to transport large fuselage sections and wings of the 787 Dreamliner from partner sites across the world to Boeing's assembly site in Everett, Washington.

The 747-400 LCF, which is an extensively modified version of the Boeing 747-400, made its first flight in September 2006. The 747 Dreamlifter can carry more cargo volume than any other cargo aircraft in the world.

Defence Technology