Soviet era military aircraft are commonly repurposed as efficient civilian operated transport aircraft due to their simple rugged construction and low operating costs; they are commonly utilized in humanitarian missions and conflict zones where the quality of runways/airstrips and ground support is limited (see manufacturers such as Antonov, Ilyushin, Kamov, Mil and Tupolev using our cargo aircraft guide).
Crews for these aircraft often originate from former Soviet Republics, Eastern Europe (Warsaw Pact), Eurasia or even Africa or the Middle East where Soviet equipment was commonly used. In many cases the original models of these aircraft are still supported or have been modernised by various nations to maintain or extend their original operational capabilities. They are a reliable cost-effective alternative for remote site operations.
Frequently they are used by military contractors to support US, NATO and UN operations in places, such as, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan (Darfur) and other austere environments around the world.