If in 2016, “Antonov” fought for survival, 2017 shall be decisive for the enterprise. The Ukrainian company will have to prove its ability to start fresh after a break last ties with the Russian aviation industry, which existed since its formation in 1946.
A symbol of the determination of the enterprise was a military freighter, the An-132, presented with panache in Kiev last week (the program was launched just two years ago). The modern machine is able to land on any of the strips and to carry on Board 75 passengers. In addition, this is the first product of “Antonov” without Russian components. It was developed in conjunction with Saudi Arabia and equipped with canadian engines Pratt & Whitney propellers Dowty British, American avionics Honeywell and various French systems like air-conditioners made by Liebherr and Zodiac oxygen systems.
900 machines for 20 years
The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko believes that “Antonov” to sell 260 planes by 2035. The first deliveries of Saudi partners from KACST to be held in 2017. This assessment is clearly based on the quantity issued from 1983 to 1998 An-32 (An-132 is its direct descendant). At the same time in a press release the enterprise is said about plans for the 900 machines for 20 years. That definitely looks too optimistic.
Anyway, the future of “Antonov” does not rely solely on the new model. Ukrainian company is betting the An-178, the other a military freighter, which is comparable in performance to the Embraer KC-390: about 100 passengers and 16 tons of cargo. The project was launched in 2010 and narrowly survived the rupture of relations with Russia, with the support of Saudi Arabia (she ordered 30 cars) and Azerbaijan (it took him ten). The plane is now undergoing certification and first deliveries scheduled for mid-2018.
In any case, two business cards and the main sources of profit “Antonov” are his giant transporters, developed in the Soviet Union. It is about seven An-124, which are regularly rented by dozens of Western armies (including the French), and one of a kind An-225, the biggest aircraft in the world (it was developed to transport the Soviet space Shuttle).
The younger brother of the An-225
Until November this unrivalled fleet of transport used jointly with the Russian company “Volga-Dnepr”. However, from 2017, the Ukrainians will begin to work independently under the Antonov brand Arilines, offering the services of their An-124 and An-225. The support of the US and NATO, it is already guaranteed: they decided to transfer all their contracts to hire the Ukrainian side.
30 years after the first flight the An-225 may soon appear younger brother. Never completed the second copy of the aircraft should be completed in 2017 by ordering the Chinese firm AICC, which is thinking about creating a new Assembly line in China, thus breathing a second life into the legend of “Antonov” and its flying giants.