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Turkey and Ukraine Proceed with An-188 Transport Aircraft Program


At Eurasia Airshow 2018, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and Ukroboronprom’s (UOP) Antonov jointly announced that they would proceed with the development and production of Antonov’s An-188 military transport aircraft.[1] The announcement follows an earlier agreement signed by the governments of Turkey and Ukraine in 2016 to jointly manufacture airliners and transport aircraft.[2]

Antonov revealed the An-188 during the 2015 Paris Air Show as a turbofan-engine variant of the An-70, which had originally been slated (in the 1990s and 2000s) as a propfan-based competitor to the Airbus A400M Atlas.[3] At the time, Antonov could not commit to a firm date as to when the An-188 would fly, but it had always intended to configure the An-188 with Western-origin engines and onboard electronics.[4]

The joint-production agreement between Antonov and TAI both maintains this framework, but it extends it as well by promising a ‘NATO-standard’ aircraft. Based on Ukroboronprom’s press statement, Antonov’s commitment to NATO compliance involves “westernization of all components, implementation of modern and reliable technical solutions, as well as full compliance with NATO standards.”[5]

The An-188 has the essential inputs – i.e. a credible funding source and launch customer in the form of Turkey, pursuit of existing turbofan engines and electronics and Antonov’s expertise – to materialize. As per Ukroboronprom’s press statement, TAI and Antonov will proceed to the “practical implementation of the project (An-188) in the near future.”[6] However, specific timelines have not been provided.

The Antonov An-188

Antonov originally revealed the An-188 during the 2015 Paris Air Show. The An-188 was to be a variant of the ill-fated (but potentially returning) An-70 propfan-based military transport aircraft. However, instead of using the Motor Sich D-27 propfan engines currently on the An-70, the An-188 was slated to use four Western-origin turbofan engines along with Western avionics and other onboard electronics.[7] The An-188 was not simply a ‘Westernized An-70’, but a separate (but related) platform with enlarged wings.[8] With TAI committing to NATO-standards, Antonov’s original plan for the An-188 will remain.

According to Ukroboronprom, the TAI-Antonov An-188 will have a payload capacity of 50 tons, which can translate into carrying most kinds of cargo including helicopters, containers, troops and other items.[9] In addition, the An-188 will be designed to operate from runways as short as 600 to 800 m.[10] The An-188 will leverage the short take-off and landing (STOL) capability to undertake an array of mission profiles, from military-lift to humanitarian operations in relatively inaccessible areas.[11] Finally, the An-188’s turbofan engines will offer long-range flight and fuel-efficiency for competitive lifecycle and operating costs.[12]

Based on these specifications, the An-188 will possess a heavier payload capacity than the C-130J-30 (20 tons) and the Airbus A400M (37 tons). It appears that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) foresee the An-188 as a strategic airlifter different in intended scope and role from the A400M or C-130. In fact, Turkey already operates the A400M and is among the Atlas’ industrial workshare partners.[13] Thus, it is unlikely TAI would compete with not just its own product, but a key program of its industry partners in the European Union.

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[1] Press Release. “An-188: Turkish-Ukrainian Aircraft in Accordance with NATO Standards”. UkrOboronProm. 03 May 2018. URL: (Last Accessed: 16 May 2018).

[2] “Turkey and Ukraine sign joint plane manufacturing project”. Daily Sabah. 15 May 2016. URL: (Last Accessed: 16 May 2018).

[3] Nicholas de Larrinaga. “Paris Air Show 2015: Antonov reveals An-188 strategic transport aircraft.” IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly. 16 June 2015. URL: (Last Accessed: 22 May 2018).

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Press Release. Ukroboronprom. May 2018.

[7] Larrinaga. IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly. June 2015.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Press Release. UkrOboronProm. May 2018.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Press Release. “Airbus Military Has Signed MoU with Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. (TAI) to Establish A Joint Company in Turkey.” Airbus Military. 28 June 2012. via Defense-Aerospace. URL: (Last Accessed: 16 May 2018).