Ukrainian airframer Antonov has brought the new twinjet An-178 airlifter to Le Bourget, and yesterday provided details on its proposed four-engine An-188 airlifter at a press conference here. Dmytro Kiva, president and general designer, also talked of the company’s problematic relationship with Russian partners.
“We do no work with Russian companies on military programs, but we continue to work with them on commercial support,” Kiva said. “But,” he added, “the direction given by Ukrainian President Petro Porochenko is to reduce our dependence on the Russian Federation.”
Porochenko has also challenged Antonov to increase production from the current target of 50 aircraft per year to 200. Left unsaid was exactly how the state-owned company can fund new developments, given Ukraine’s precarious financial position.
The An-178 is in the same family as the An-148 and An-158 passenger twinjets. However, it has a redesigned fuselage with a wider cross-section with an overhead crane, and a rear-loading ramp, plus a stronger wing. The home-made Ivchenko Progress D-436 turbofans are modified to cater for higher maximum takeoff weights. The An-178 only flew for the first time on May 7, and is aimed squarely at the An-12 replacement market.
Presenting the An-188 for the first time outside Ukraine, Antonov officials said that this jet-powered An-70 lookalike is designed to fill the gap between the C-130J and the C-17 (neglecting to mention the A400M). Maximum takeoff weight would be 140 metric tons and the payload 40 tons.
Antonov also presented details of the An-132, a proposed replacement for the An-26/An-32 tactical airlifters. The An-132 would be powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada turboprops, and would also be ‘Westernized’ with content from General Electric, Honeywell, Liebherr, and Hamilton Sundstrand.
Antonov claims that the An-132 engine-out performance beats that of the competing Airbus C-295 and Alenia C-27J, and that the world market for such an aircraft exceeds 900. Antonov is working in partnership with the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KCAST) to develop the An-132.
Antonov recently held discussions with various aviation companies in neighbouring Poland about substituting Western content on the An-148/158/178 series as well.