In late 1950s, the Soviet leadership need a new cargo-lifter
cargoes to the underdeveloped areas
of the northern USSR, Siberia and the Far East.
Based on the experience acquired building the An-10 and the An-12 which
were used as airliners and military transport, the Antonov design bureau was selected for
the design and development of the new giant airlifter which resulted as
the An-22 Antei. The An-22 flew for the first time in February 1965, at which
time it was the largest transport aircraft in the world. In June 1965,
the An-22 was publicly displayed at the
Paris Air Show and was impressed Western observers that received NATO
codename Cock. Deliveries to
both the Soviet Air Force and Aeroflot were completed during 1974.
Apparently about 100 An-22s were built with
the military air transport force (VTA) receiving between 30 and 50
aircraft. The An-22 was slowly being
replaced by the bigger turbofan-powered An-124 Condor begun in 1987.
Approximately 45 remained in service by the mid-1990s. Currently one
An-22 is in use for civilian cargo duties by Antonov airlines.