Antonov, which is under UkrOboronProm, is showcasing the An-70 medium-heavy airlifter and An-132D light transport and utility aircraft at the 2017 Dubai Air Show.
The An-132D is a collaborative effort between Antonov and Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz City of Science and Industry (KACST) and Taqnia Aeronautics Company.
An upgrade of the venerable and once ubiquitous An-32, the An-132D is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) PW150 turboprop engines. It had its maiden test flight in March. The An-132D has a cruise speed of 500 km/h and maximum payload of 9,500 kg.
Other commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) subsystems onboard the An-132D include Dowty R408 propellers, Liebherr oxygen generating systems, Zodiac air conditioning and Honeywell Primus Epic 2.0 avionics.
Since it is a co-production effort, Saudi Arabia will eventually manufacture 18% of the An-132D’s airframe, though Ukraine will manage final assembly. The An-132D has an estimated unit cost of $30 million U.S. The An-132D is being positioned as a transport and as a special mission aircraft platform.
UkrOboronProm has been eager to revive the An-70 strategic airlifter, which had been beleaguered with technical complications through its development in the 1990s and 2000s. Moreover, Kiev’s collapse in ties with Moscow have resulted in the An-70 losing a key launch market.
Designed to compete with the Airbus A400M and Lockheed Martin C-13, the An-70 has a payload capacity of 47 tons and ferry range of 3,000 km with that load. The An-70 is powered by four Motor Sich D-27 propfan engines. With a payload of 20 tons, the An-70 can take-off and land at 600-700 m.
In July, Antonov announced that it was seeking U.S. industry support to upgrade the An-70 (under the An-77 designation), which could open the platform to modern electronics subsystems available on the An-70’s competition, such as the Lockheed Martin C-130J, Airbus A400M and Embraer KC-390.
At the 2017 Paris Air Show, UkrOboronProm’s Director General, Roman Romanov, claimed that the An-70 was drawing interest from several prospective overseas clients.
The Gulf Arab states are a key market, not least from the fact that Saudi Arabia helped bring the An-132D to fruition, but also with the burgeoning interest on the part of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the aviation industry. The UAE has already begun talks with Russia’s Irkut to co-produce and market the MC-21-400 civil airliner in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) market.
While there might be possible to have the MENA region support large aircraft platforms, Ukraine will have to compete with the Russians and Chinese. For Ukraine, competitiveness in cost and flexibility in terms of transfer-of-technology and production workshare will be integral to gaining market-share.