Long live the Antonov AN-70!

One week ago I made a rather bold prediction about the prospects for a US Air Force contract for the Antonov AN-70.

This week, Russia and the Ukraine announced an agreement to officially re-start production of the sturdy airlifter, only two years after Russia abruptly dropped out of the project. (Read here for more.)

I don’t know what this means for the aircraft’s future competitiveness for a US Air Force order (per my prediction), but it does at least indicate the platform will be available for a long time to come.



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2 Responses to Long live the Antonov AN-70!

  1. HerkEng 16 February, 2008 at 5:09 pm #

    I have never understood why there has been such a love fest with the A400M. The An-70 should have been the aircraft that the world has put its money on. The An-70 was built to compete with the capabilities of the C-130 but trump it on its load and range. The A400M on the other hand was designed to be a mini C-17 with some C-130 like capability. The An-70 was a risky development with no firm buyers at hand but they made it work, and they designed it quickly. What I like about the An-70. Horsepower! More than the A400M and the C-130J (in fact, it isn’t even fair to keep talking about the J model…so I will stop). The An-70 has a removable upper deck for troops and small cargo. Because of the location of the tail, I highly doubt that the upper deck could be used for paratroops. I like the propfan vs. turbofan for both the power aspect and the fact that you can use smaller diameter props and keep them higher off the dirt. (One of the problems plaguing the new props on the J model (oops, mentioned her again). It’s a very sleek design vs. the Airbus’s flying brick. The An-70 is lighter than the A400M but the An-70s max takeoff weight is almost 30,000lbs higher than the A400Ms estimated 287,000lbs
    The A400M will have a strictly two man crew where as, the Russians wanted the An-70 to also use a Navigator and or a Flight Engineer. I understand that many of you fully believe that these positions are obsolete but the fact is, in the combat environment, just for a safety factor, it is good to have more eyes up front to clear the wings, act as lookout as well as easing the pilot’s task saturation. The Antonov designers knew about the trend of the west going to smaller flight crews and also designed the An-70 to be able to use a two, three or four man (women?) crew with a fully glass flight deck.

    I hope that at least some of the countries interested in the A400M notice what a mistake they will make if they choose the A400M over the An-70. It would be a shame if we do not see her fly in the years to come.

    I honestly doubt if we will ever see an An-70 in USAF markings but I hope someone buys this little gem. What a great plane!!

  2. A Taxpayer 19 June, 2008 at 4:28 am #

    Well, here is what I wrote about the An-70

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