PROGRAMME: Development began 1975 to replace some An-12s remaining in air force service from 2002-2003; announced by Izvestia 20 December 1988; at 1991 Paris Air Show Antonov OKB reported prototype being assembled at Kiev; funding by Russian (80 per cent) and Ukrainian governments under agreement of 24 June 1993; preliminary details released and model displayed at Moscow Aero Engine and Industry Show April 1992; prototype first flight (01-01) 16 December 1994 (was also delivery flight to Gostomel test airfield); this aircraft lost during fourth sortie following in-flight collision with chase An-72 on 10 February 1995; second prototype (without nose-mounted instrumentation boom) produced by upgrading of static test airframe (for which replacement under construction in 2000); rolled out 24 December 1996; first flight (01-02/UR-NTK) 24 April 1997; international debut at Moscow Air Show, August 1997; handed over to Russian Air Forces' test centre at Akhtubinsk, August 1998. Had flown one-third of planned 780-sortie test programme by January 2000; high AoA trials mid-2000; first stage of State testing completed October 2000, confirming safety in all flight regimes. Crash-landed and fuselage broken into two parts immediately after take-off from Omsk on 27 January 2001 following double engine failure. Airframe transferred to Polyot aircraft plant and repaired at cost of US$3 million; reflown 5 June 2001; certification rescheduled to first quarter of 2002; appeared at MAKS '01, Moscow, August 2001.
Bilateral agreement between Russia and Ukraine revised 18 May 1999, and underlined decision taken to order first 10 (and 50 engines) before planned production at Aviant plant, Kiev, from 1999 and Aviacor plant, Samara, from 2000; each plant building initial batch of five, which to enter service by 2003. Russian production specification issued 4 December 1999; Russian government decree of 4 October 2000 covers purchase of 164 An-70s, but, at same time, Samara regional government announced that local manufacturers were withdrawing from An-70 project. Ukrainian government resolution guaranteeing An-70 purchase passed 12 October 2000; total of 65 to be obtained by 2018. First five for Ukraine ordered from Aviant on 2 April 2001. However, in September 2001, Polyot was allocated Russian An-70 final assembly, augmented by Novosibirsk's NAPO and Voronezh's VASO. Aviacor no longer involved. Russian share of series production is 72 per cent; Ukraine 28 per cent. Assembly of first Polyot-built An-70 formally began on 10 October 2002.
By September 2002, An-70 had flown 550 hours in 440 sorties towards anticipated late 2003 completion of State Tests, but unofficial reports were by that time citing alleged discovery of 382 deficiencies, of which 95 rated essential for pre-delivery rectification. These included engine reliability, the prototype having suffered 52 in-flight shutdowns during its 440 sorties. Russian Air Forces' disinclination to fund An-70 was being discussed in November 2002, and C-in-C voiced outright rejection of purchase at January 2003 press conference, claiming An-70 unsuitable for its intended task of replacing An-12, and pledging support for rival Tupolev Tu-330. By April 2003 however, it was reported unofficially that Air Forces' support had been resumed, but with proviso of rewritten TTZ (tactical and technical specification) detailing changes to avionics and equipment and extending development period.
Faced with shortfall in Russian financial support, Ukrainian government considered unilateral financial support in 2003 national budget, allowing production launch, but decided against the proposal in November 2002, although continued flight testing did receive official funds. Trials at Feodosia test centre included February 2003 air-drop within 18 seconds of four pallets totalling 34.5 tonnes; operations planned from airstrips with bearing strength of between 6 and 9 kgf/cm² (85 to 128 lbf/sq in).
Offered as alternative to Airbus A400M FLA; Germany and Ukraine agreed in December 1997 to explore possible industrial collaboration and German government strongly promoted the An-7X as the basis of the FLA, though this was rejected by other FLA partners and the Luftwaffe. Aircraft evaluated by DaimlerChrysler Aerospace, which determined that it could be modified to meet FLA requirement. Aim of wide co-operation between Russian, Ukrainian and West European aircraft industries (in effect bid to meet European FLA requirement) stated in February 1998 in joint declaration by Russian and Ukrainian Presidents. Certification is planned to FAR Pt 25 and equivalents. Antonov obviated effects of intermittent official funding by investing income from its own An-124 charter operations.
Medium Transport Aircraft International Consortium (MTA; also known as Medium-Size Transport Plane consortium or AirTruck) formed February 1996 to coordinate development, certification, sales and after-service, comprising four Ukrainian and six Russian companies: ANTK Antonov (designer and component manufacturer), ZMKB Progress (engine designer), Aviant (airframe manufacturer) and Motor Sich (engine manufacturer) from Ukraine; and Aviacor (airframe manufacturer), Ufa (engine manufacturer), Aviapribor (flight control system manufacturer), Elektroavtomatika (avionics), Leninets (airborne monitoring and diagnostic system) and Aerosila (propfan) from Russia. See 'Structure'
Third aircraft to fly will be An-70T commercial variant, construction of which announced mid-1998; first flight anticipated 2002, but failed to take place and nothing further heard of programme during that year. In September 2000, Volga-Dnepr airline pledged to fund An-70 production if military contracts not forthcoming. Fourth batch (of seven) D-27 engines, authorised in 2000, includes those for An-70T prototype.
CURRENT VERSIONS: An-70: Military STOL transport; proposed production version. Stated to have double the payload of Lockheed Martin C-130J, with similar STOL and rough-field performance, yet only 40 kt (74 km/h; 46 mph) slower than the Boeing C-17A Globemaster III, which carries 15 per cent more payload.
Detailed description applies to baseline An-70.
An-70-100: Proposed military STOL transport, as An-70 but with two-crew cockpit.
An-77: Proposed military STOL transport for export customers; As An-70-100 but with cockpit for two or three crew. Runway length of 1,900 m (6,235 ft) required with 35,000 kg (77,161 lb) payload for 2,051 n mile (3,800 km; 2,361 mile) range.
An-70T: Commercial transport, generally as An-70, with improved runway capability but no requirement for STOL. Two or three crew. To carry 35,000 kg (77,161 lb) payload 2,051 n miles (3,800 km; 2,361 miles) from 1,900 m (6,235 ft) runway, or 20,000 kg (44,092 lb) for 2,915 n miles (5,400 km; 3,555 miles) from 1,300 m (4,265 ft) runway. Stated to have load-carrying capability of Il-76, but runway requirements of An-74. Promoted as Il-76/An-12 replacement. Certification planned to FAR Pt 25 and equivalents. First fuselage delivered to Samara from Kiev November 1999.
An-70T-100: Development of An-70T with two D-27 propfans, two crew and revised landing gear, to carry 30,000 kg (66,138 lb) payload 540 n miles (1,000 km; 621 miles) from 2,500 m (8,205 ft) runway, or 10,000 kg (22,046 lb) for 1,187 n miles (2,200 km; 1,367 miles) from 1,300 m (4,265 ft) runway. Promoted as An-12 and An-74 replacement.
An-70T-200: Powered by two Kuznetsov NK-93 turbofans.
An-70T-300: With two CFM56-5C4 turbofans.
An-70T-400: With four CFM56-5C4 turbofans.
An-70TK: Convertible cargo/passenger transport for 30,000 kg (66,138 lb) of freight or 150 passengers, with seats in removable modules.
An-7X: Designation for provisional variant offered to meet multinational FLA requirement at 40 per cent of anticipated A400M cost. AirTruck GmbH formed 20 May 1999 by eight supporting German companies (Aerosila, ASL Aircraft Services, Autoflug, BGT, R-R Deutschland, ESG, Liebherr and VDO) to promote An-7X in conjunction with MTA consortium.
Antonov-supplied (on 29 January 1999) data evaluated by DaimlerChrysler Aerospace, which assessed technical risk as minor and performance to be compliant; however, specific fuel consumption targets not met, concern expressed over noise, and power plant felt to need Western FADEC. Further recommendations include wiring insulation change to meet Western standards; landing gear modifications; addition of in-flight refuellng and fuel-dumping; completely revised NVG-compatible, two-crew cockpit; permanently installed cargo system; and minor flying control and manufacturing changes.
Assembly of 75 An-7Xs for Luftwaffe would be at Lemwerder, Germany. If rejected by Germany, An-7X programme to continue in readiness for alternative export prospects for non-STOL version.
An-170: Heavy transport derivative carrying 45,000-50,000 kg (99,210-110,230 lb) of cargo.
An-171: Proposed stretched version with increased wing span and more powerful engines; design work under way by 2001.
Adaption of military An-70 for tanker, AEW, SAR (An-70PS), naval patrol, and of An-70T or An-70T-100 for firefighting, ecological monitoring and ambulance duties being studied.
CUSTOMERS: Requirements originally expressed by Russian Air Forces for up to 500 and by Ukrainian Air Force for 100. This modified by 1999 to 164 for Russia and 65 for Ukraine, with in-service date of 2002. German requirement potentially for 75 aircraft. By mid-1999 potential civil operators had signed documents of intent for some 100 further aircraft. Chinese interest reported in 2000. Czech Republic reportedly finalising a contract for three in 2002, delivery to be from Omsk at one per year, beginning 2005. Hungarian and Indian interest reported in late 2002, the latter considering licensed production.
COSTS: Military version US$60 million (2002), but estimated in 2003 that this could be reduced to "under US$40 million". Civil An-70T to cost 20 to 30 per cent less than military variant. Total of US$3,500 million reportedly spent on development by late 2002, of which Russian defence ministry then owed Antonov US$49 million; further US$86 million (of which US$61 million due from Russia) required to complete development and flight testing. Engines cost US$75 million up to 2002, and further US$30 million allegedly required to address recorded malfunctions during testing.
DESIGN FEATURES: First aircraft to fly powered only by propfans. Slightly larger than projected European FLA transport, much smaller than US Boeing C-17A; conventional high-wing configuration, with wings and tail surfaces slightly sweptback; supercritical wing section; anhedral from roots; loading ramp/doors under upswept rear fuselage with adjustable sill height and built-in cargo handling system; horizontal tail surfaces on rear fuselage; propfans mounted conventionally on wing leading-edge; propeller wash doubles wing lift during take-off and landing. Multiple-section control surfaces provide redundancy in event of battle damage or physical obstruction. Claimed features include independent operational capability at non-equipped airfields for 30 days. Design life 15,000 cycles and 45,000 flying hours in 25 years. Operable 3,500 hours per year, with eight to 10 man-hours of maintenance per flying hour. Cost-effective with only 200 flying hours per month.
FLYING CONTROLS: Prototypes have fly-by-wire system with three digital and six analogue channels; primary controls are quadruplex; back-up by unique fly-by-hydraulics system, in which pilot or autopilot inputs are relayed (via conventional 'mini-wheels') to actuators by commands in hydraulic control channels, unaffected by electromagnetic interference. Production aircraft will have a four-channel, all-digital primary FCS, rather than the hybrid digital/analogue system of the prototypes. Secondary FCS controls two independent flap systems, leading-edge slats and blown flaps. Three-section double-winged rudder. Double-slotted trailing-edge blown Fowler flaps in two sections on each wing; forward element maximum deflection 60°, rear element 80°; intermediate settings (forward element) 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 and 50°. Three-section spoilers forward of each outer flap. Leading-edge has flaps inboard; slats centre and outboard. Two-section, double-hinged elevators forward section maximum deflections +28/-20°, rear section +50/-40°, to enhance low-speed authority; horizontal stabilisers are fitted with automatic leading-edge slats.
STRUCTURE: Approximately 28 per cent of airframe, by weight, made of composites, including complete tail unit, ailerons and flaps. Fuselage stringer/skin joints are spot-welded and hot-bonded, manually.
Single source for all major components. Russian assembly by Polyot, which also to build cargo hold; NAPO producing the centre section; VASO, the wing (which previously assigned to Chkalov plant at Tashkent, Uzbekistan). Aviant at Kiev to assemble Ukrainian aircraft and build flight deck, empennage and engine nacelles.
LANDING GEAR: Twin-wheel nose unit; each main unit has three pairs of wheels in tandem, retracting into large fairing on side of cabin; can operate from unpaved surfaces of bearing ratio 8 kg/cm² (114 lb/sq in). All tyres 1,120x450. Steel-steel brakes. Nosewheel turning angle ±55° for taxying; nosewheel turning radius 16.3 m (53½ ft); wingtip turning radius 29.5 m (97¾ ft); required taxiway width for 180° turn 27.4 m (90 ft).
POWER PLANT: Four ZMKB Progress/Ivchenko D-27 propfans, each 10,290 kW (13,800 shp). Aerosila Stupino SV-27 contrarotating propellers, each with eight composites blades in front and six at rear. Reversible-pitch blades of scimitar form, with electric anti-icing. Export versions proposed with CFM56-5C4 turbofans.
ACCOMMODATION: Three flight crew (two pilots and flight engineer or 'tactical pilot') plus loadmaster; navigation station on captain's left is optionally operated by fourth member of flight crew; provision for converting cockpit for two-crew operation, with co-pilot operating flight engineer's station; seats in forward fuselage for two cargo attendants; freight loaded via rear ramp using four built-in, powered hoists (each of 3 tonne capacity) reaching out 6.6 m (22 ft) from aircraft. Hoists can be combined for heavier loads. Freight can be carried on PA-5.6 rigid pallets, PA-3, PA-4 and PA-6.8 flexible pallets, in UAK-2.5, UAK-5 and UAK-10 containers; unpackaged freight, wheeled and tracked vehicles, food and perishables can be carried; seats for 300 troops, or 206 stretchers, can be installed using optional, prefabricated (10 section) upper deck or optional, easly removable seven-section upper deck (each segment holding 1.5 tonnes) in cargo hold; vehicles, freight and paratroops can be airdropped; maximum single airdrop item weight 20,000 kg (44,092 lb); crew door at front of cabin on port side; two upper deck doors each side, front and rear; cargo hold pressurised and air conditioned.
SYSTEMS: Aircraft systems automated to simplify operation and decrease probability of crew errors. Electronpribor engine control system; Leninets monitoring and information system.
AVIONICS: Integrated by Aviapribor, Leninets and Elektroavtomatika. Flight data, navigation and radio-navigation systems to ARINC 700 requirements; digital multiplex data interface equivalent to Western MIL-STD-1553B.
Comms: Integrated system by Gorkiski.
Flight: Ring laser INS; SKI-77 HUD; flight management system; designed for operation in adverse weather and for landing in ICAO Cat. II and IIIa conditions. BASK-70 onboard diagnostic system collects data from subsystems, registering and analysing 8,000 in-flight parameters.
Instrumentation: Ten-screen EFIS by Elektroavtomatika comprises six main screens, each 200 x 200 mm (7¾ x 7¾ in), facing pilots and two each at navigation and flight engineer's stations, plus smaller secondary LCD screens and roof-mounted HUDs for pilot and co-pilot on production aircraft.
EQUIPMENT: Four electric hoists in hold.