Antonov State Enterprise (Kiev, Ukraine) continues development of medium military-transport An-70 wide-body aircraft having a short takeoff and landing capability, Delo website reports.
"After completion of the joint state testing the aircraft started performing long-range flights. In particular the flight on route Kiev – Odessa – Kharkov – Lvov – Ivano-Frankovsk – Kiev has been performed; its duration was 8 hours 8 minutes", — the enterprise’s press-service added.
According to Antonov State Enterprise, in the network of a flight performed by a crew, comprising representatives of Antonov and State Research and Test Center of the Ukrainian armed forces, An-70 has crossed a number of thunderstorm fronts.
"Thus the functionality of radar facilities responsible for detection and recognition of dangerous weather fronts has been checked under real weather conditions and it showed good results. An-70 has also successfully passed the test under conditions of natural icing. All the systems functioned normally. The temperature fields, vibration and noise level in the aircraft’s cockpit and cabin were being monitored during flight", — the company noted.
"Once again An-70 has confirmed the claimed performance. The liner has been highly praised by the test team of Ukrainian Ministry of Defense", — the press-service said. In April An-70 completed the final stage of the joint state testing. Following the results of the state testing it was recommended to launch the serial production of An-70 and put the vehicle into service.
The military-transport An-70 aircraft having a short takeoff and landing capability is being developed under inter-governmental agreements signed by Russia and Ukraine in 1993 and 1999. Russian and Ukrainian ministries of defense are the An-70 launch customers.
Russia did not take part in the final stage of the state testing, However, An-70 was included in the State Arms Program of Russia earlier and the State Defense Order should have included purchase of 60 aircraft of the type. In 2006 Russian Ministry of Defense stated for the first time that it will withdraw from the project, because the major aircraft of the military-transport aviation is Il-76. In April Russia decided to make changes in the State Defense Order and plans for development of the military-industrial sector in the network of implementation of a program aimed at phasing out imports in some sectors of the national industry.
A version of An-70 upgraded in accordance with NATO requirements (An7x) was being considered as a potential major European medium transport aircraft; however, Europe opted for A400M.
An-70 outmatches the existing analogues, including European А400М (the purchase value and operating costs of An-70 are two times lower as compared to A400M). Its maximum payload is 47 tons (37 tons for A400M), the volume of cargo compartment is 425 cubic meters (340 cubic meters for A400M). The price of А400М is €145 million (An-70’s price is about $67 million).
According to European experts, over the next 10 years the global transport aircraft market will need 900 new aircraft of the following types: An-124-100M-150, An-70, C-17 and A400M.