|First flight||16 December 1994|
|Produced||1994 - 1996
2012 - present
|Number built||2 prototypes|
The Antonov An-70 is a four-engine medium-range transport aircraft, and the first large aircraft to be powered by propfan engines. It is being developed by Ukraine's Antonov design bureau to replace the obsolete An-12 military transport aircraft. The maiden flight of the first prototype took place on 16 December 1994 in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Design and development
The An-70 is a high-wing monoplane with four wing-mounted propfan engines, it has a full glass cockpit and fly-by-wire controls. The aircraft has a 19.1 metre (22.4 metre with the ramp) x 4 metre x 4.1 metre cargo space and can carry 47 ton of cargo. Powered by four Progress D-27 propfan engines, each turning a pair of contra-rotating scimitar propellers.
Work on the An-70 began in Soviet Union in the early eighties. There were plans to establish serial production of the model in both Kyiv (Kiev) and Samara, Russia, guaranteeing employment of about 80,000 people in the two countries. The initial contract to build the An-70 was concluded in May 1989. The Soviet government had shown interest in purchasing 160 planes for its military. But in the post-Soviet days of reduced military budgets in Russia, funding for the An-70 was cut. Antonov decided to proceed with self-funding.
The first prototype was lost during its fourth flight on 10 Feb 1995 in a mid-air collision with an Antonov An-72 being used as a chase plane, the test crew of seven were killed. The aircraft proved so promising during its first three flights that Antonov decided to press on and converted the static-test prototype into a flying prototype. The second airframe took to the air only 21 months after the crash of the first one, on 8 December 1996.
The An-70 was the first Eastern-bloc transport aircraft to be built according to the new IAC AP-25 norms that conformed with JAR-25. This would allow civilian certification in both Western Europe and North America. Another first was the use of a MIL-STD-1553B-compatible data bus, which allows NATO avionics and defensive suites to be installed.
In October 1997, the German defence minister Volker Rühe announced the intention to study whether the An-70 could be the basis for the FLA/Airbus A400M. Evaluation was in competition with the newly designed, paper-only A400M proposed by Airbus Military Company. The An-70 participation in the 1998–2000 tender process for the FLA was very successful and was the best bid from a financial, technical and operational point of view. The plane was checked thoroughly by MBB Munich, and presented to Air Transport Command in Cologne after Le Bourget airshow in 1999. However, for political reasons and under pressure both from the newly founded EADS company and the French government, the A400M was selected for the FLA. The French claimed that their projected Airbus A400M, although more expensive, would have lower life cycle costs (LCCs) than the An-70. Antonov lost this opportunity to sell its An-70 to Western European nations and to make matters worse, shortly after, the second An-70 prototype made a crash landing on its belly in January 2001 after losing power in two engines on take-off during cold weather testing in Omsk, and was severely damaged. It looked as though the A400M was now going to have the market all to itself. But Antonov recovered the crashed aircraft and repaired it in record time, but the project still lacked funding.
In 2002 Russia and Ukraine had agreed on a 50–50 risk-sharing deal on production. In May 2005 a senior Russian Air Force officials claimed that bilateral development and further testing of the An-70 would continue.
In April 2006 Russia announced its complete withdrawal from the project. The head of the Russian Air Force, Vladimir Mikhaylov, claimed that the An-70 has grown into a heavy, expensive cargo plane. The Russian military plans to use the Ilyushin Il-76MF, which reportedly costs half as much as the An-70. After the Orange Revolution in late 2004, and with Ukraine openly aiming for NATO membership, political will for the project evaporated. Russia has provided around 60 percent of the estimated $5 billion invested in the project to date.
The project continued but work was delayed by Russia's $60 million unpaid debts on the project. Russia resumed cooperation and restored funding on the An-70 project in late 2009. However Russia did not pay its forfeit penalties, according to Antonov.
In August 2010, it was reported that user testing was taking place, and that the Ukrainian Air Force expected to take delivery of the first An-70 in 2011. Volga-Dnepr Airlines signed an agreement for a possible purchase of up to five An-70T aircraft. A requirement for 60 An-70s was included in Russia's 2011–2020 national armament programme when it was issued in December 2010. After an extensive series of modifications, including revised avionics (which allowed the flight crew to be reduced from five to four) and changes to the aircraft's propellers to improve reliability and decrease noise, the second prototype An-70 flew again on 27 September 2012 and took part in the Aviasit XI airshow at Kyiv (Kiev). In June 2012, it was decided to carry out assembly of the An-70 at the KAPO factory in Kazan, Russia. The aircraft's wings, tail surfaces and engine nacelles would be built by Antonov in Kyiv (Kiev).
- A proposed aerial refueling version of the An-70, except with two jet engines from the team of U.S. Aerospace and Antonov for the U.S. Air Force's KC-X program. The USAF rejected the proposal, and the appeal was later dismissed.
- Russian Air Force – on order. On 24 June 2010 Lt. Gen. Vladimir Shamanov stated that he had ordered 60 An-70s for his service in accordance with the new rearmament program for 2011–2020. Then, it was reported in early March 2011 that Russia planned to receive 60 aircraft of a redesigned version in the 2015–2016 timeframe. The first aircraft sold to the Russian Air Force
Data from Back in the Air
- Crew: 4 (Two pilots, navigator and flight engineer)
- Capacity: 300 troops or 206 stretcher cases
- Payload: 47,000 kg (103,620 lb) of cargo
- Length: 40.7 m (133 ft 6 in)
- Wingspan: 44.06 m (144 ft 7 in)
- Height: 16.38 m (53 ft 9 in)
- Empty weight: 66,230 kg (146,000 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 145,000 kg (319,670 lb)
- Powerplant: 4 × Progress D-27 propfans, 10,350 kW (13,880 hp) each
- Maximum speed: 780 km/h (421 knots, 485 mph)
- Cruise speed: 750 km/h (405 knots, 466 mph)
- Stall speed: 113 km/h (61 knots, 70 mph)
- Range: 6,600 km or 5,000 km (3,564 nm or 2,700nm) with 20 or 35 tonnes of cargo
- Service ceiling: 12,000 m (39,370 ft)
- Rate of climb: 24.9 m/s (81.7 ft/s)
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Russia to pull out of An-70 plane production
- (Ukrainian) Uzbekistan to take part in production of An-70
- Economic court in Kyiv decides to collect 30.9 million rubles from Russian Defense Ministry in favor of Antonov State Enterprise, Interfax-Ukraine (27 August 2014)
- Antonov 70 – An uncertain Future
- Russia, Ukraine to revive An-70 joint project – defense minister
- "Bonn's high risk An-70 strategy threatens UK FLA participation". Flightglobal.com. Retrieved 2011-09-28.
- "AMC rebuffs An-70 as basis of Future Large Aircraft project". Flightglobal.com. Retrieved 2011-09-28.
- "DER SPIEGEL 22/1998 – Tolles Signal". Spiegel.de. 1998-05-25. Retrieved 2011-09-28.
- "Antonow AN-70 – Flugzeug mit Propeller je 1 x 8 und 1 x 6-Blatt gegenläufig". Bredow-web.de. Retrieved 2011-09-28.
- (Russian) Russian doesn't need An-70
- Ukraine Express June
- Implementation of An-70 project is hindered by Russia's debts, Kyiv Post, 17 November 2009. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
- Butowski Air International December 2012, p. 86.
- "Antonov: Ukraine to receive first An-70 next year". Archived from the original on 9 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-17.
- Butowski Air International December 2012, pp. 86–87.
- Butowski Air International December 2012, pp. 86–88.
- "Modified An-70 resumes flight testing". Flightglobal. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
- Butowski Air International December 2012, pp. 88–89.
- "Antonov completed state joint tests of the AN−70" Antonov, 10 April 2014. Accessed: 21 April 2014.
- Trimble, Stephen. "US Aerospace appeals against KC-X exclusion, blames USAF ‘conspiracy’". Flight International, 5 August 2010.
- Gary Parsons (2010-08-06). "An-122KC KC-X proposal revealed?". key.aero. Retrieved 1 Jan 2012.
- "USAF excludes “late” KC-X bid". Australian Aviation, 9 August 2010.
- Butler, Amy. "U.S. Aerospace Files Second KC-X Protest". The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
- Bennett, John T. "GAO Denies U.S. Aerospace-Antonov KC-X Protest". Defense News, 6 October 2010.
- "Russia will acquire 60 Ukrainian An-70s – News – Russian Aviation". Ruaviation.Com. 2011-04-20. Retrieved 2011-09-28.
- "Россия закупила первый Ан-70 – транспортник с уникальными характеристиками — ОРУЖИЕ РОССИИ, Каталог вооружения, военной и специальной техники". Arms-expo.ru. Retrieved 2011-09-28.
- Jackson 2003, pp. 468–469.
- Butowski, Piotr. "Back in the Air". Air International, Vol.83 No, 6, December 2012. ISSN 0306-5634. pp. 86–89.
- Jackson, Paul. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 2003–2004. Coulsdon, UK: Jane's Information Group, 2003. ISBN 0-7106-2537-5.
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