The Ministry for Emergencies (Russian acronym MChS, also referred to as Emercom) has placed order for VASO-built An-148 regional jets in tailored configuration, two firms and two options. The respective contract was awarded on 12 November 2010. This order is the first one to have been formally awarded to the new Antonov twinjet by Russian state structures. Russian governmental structures are considering buying a total of some 40 such aircraft.
First MChS airplane shall deliver in October 2012, second by the end of 2013. Both are based on the An-148-100E “extended range” platform, with maximum takeoff weight exceeding 43 tons, some two tons above that for the baseline An-148-100B version.
The customer has required easy conversion into four mission-tailored variants. The main one is medical, with special medical modules from the Zarechie. This Kazan-based company is a specialist in medical modules, and is a long-standing supplier of MChS. Three other variants are for passenger transportation. One features a three-class cabin, with main passenger chamber, business class and economy. Alternatively, the aircraft can carry 75 travelers in the economy class seats.
MChS announced its coming order in January this year, shortly after Russian PM Vladimir Putin publicly instructed MChS head Sergei Shoigu “to consider this small new jet being produced in Voronezh”. Putin met Shoigu after visiting VASO plant on 18 January 2010. Today production is focused on initial An-148-100B model. MChS had to delay the delivery by two years, taking account of lead time and the time needed to launch “E” version into quantity production.
Speaking of two additional airplanes on option, commander of MChS Aviation Gen. Rafail Zakirov said these are considered a replacement for the Ilyuishin Il-62M four jet on very long missions. For longer range the An-148 will be equipped with additional fuel tanks, including that atop the fuselage. Extended-range version will have a MTOW of some 49tons.
According to Zakirov, the An-148 will eventually replace several types in MChS inventory, including the Il-62M and the Yak-42D. Besides, the new type will reveal the An-74 and Be-200 of their passenger transportation duties. He further said the use of the D-436 turbofans that power the An-148 and Be-200, and its predecessor, the D-36 on the Yak-42 and An-74, promises to improve maintenance issues through powerplant unification across MChS Aviation fleet.