In case you’re still wondering about Antonov…

Antonov and US Aerospace have asked for a 60-day extension to the Friday deadline for the KC-X request for proposals (RFP). (Somewhere inside the Pentagon, a harried staffer has received an urgent, high-level tasker to check a thesaurus for appropriate and non-profane alternatives to the term “hell, no”.)

On the other hand, if a negative response opens the door for Antonov to protest the RFP deadline, the Pentagon may face an at least 30-day delay anyway. Your move, Secretary Donley.

The mystery continues, meanwhile, about the configuration of the An-112. When the book on KC-X is written, An-112 will almost certainly be a footnote. But it still drives me nuts that I don’t know what it is. Adding jet engines to the An-12 seems absurd. Transforming the An-70 — a perhaps under-appreciated modern airlifter — into a jet-powered tanker is more credible in comparison to the An-12, but still a fairly absurd idea.

Chuck Arnold, adviser to board of directors for US Aerospace, still declines to say what the An-112 is. But Arnold has told me one thing it is not, and that’s a revival of the An-218. If you’re unfamiliar with the aircraft, it was launched by Antonov at the 1991 Paris Air Show as a project to challenge the Airbus A330, but abandoned by 1995.

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9 Responses to In case you’re still wondering about Antonov…

  1. Mike 7 July, 2010 at 3:34 pm #

    yes…An-218 is more real…

  2. irtusk 7 July, 2010 at 4:21 pm #

    > Antonov and US Aerospace have asked for a 60-day extension

    Has Antonov actually confirmed their involvement? I haven’t seen anything from anyone except US Aerospace.

  3. Gilles 7 July, 2010 at 5:22 pm #

    You will recall that the An-70 was originally meant to replace the tactical An-12 which is no longer in production anywhere, except the Chinese version, the Shaanxi Y-8. The Soviet (Russian) An-12s were all built in Tashkent (Uzbekistan SSR), at the TAPO factory, they ceased production to build the IL-76 in the same factory). The prototype flew in 1957 and the last one rolled out in 1972. Its very unlikely that an An-112 would be based on an airframe that has not been in production for 38 years.

    Because the An-70 was meant to replace the An-12, it would justify using the An-112 as a designation. Why the change from the An-70 designation? I don’t know. Maybe the conversion to jet engines justify a new type designation.

    The KC-X RFP essentially requires an aircraft that can outdo the KC-135R. The KC-135R has a take-off weight of 145 tonnes. The present turboprop An-70 takes off at 147 tonnes. A Boeing 767-200ER takes off at 179 tonnes, probably pretty close to what a jet powered An-70 could do. A B-767-200ER has an empty weight of 82 tonnes, while the An-70 advertises an empty weight of just 66 tonnes. How much would a twin-engine jet-powered An-70 weigh?

    For the rest of the KC-X requirements, a lot has to do with avionics (defence, communications, navigation). The An-70 is already fitted with a MIL-1553B data bus that make the installation of US defence, navigation, communications and military electronics a breeze. Also, unlike the older Soviet-era machines such as the An-124 and Il-76 which were built under older Soviet NLGS-3 certification norms which are incompatible with US certification norms, the An-70 was built according to the new Russian/Ukrainian AP-25 certification norms that were streamlined with international FAR-25 and JAR-25 (now EASA) norms that makes US Military certification possible.

    The An-70 can land and take off from short unpaved runways and with its rear loading ramp and high ceilings can carry armoured vehicles such as the M2 Bradley fighting vehicle and the Sryker, which the two contenders can not do.

    A jet-powered An-70-based tanker with US engines and avionics makes a lot of sense to me.

  4. LJB 8 July, 2010 at 12:29 am #

    This sounds like the mess we had when Canada was looking for new transport aircraft. All of once we had all these outfits proposing variants of the IL-76 and how its would be cheaper than buying the C-17, etc, etc. I would be very leery of giving these guys any credence.

  5. Jetcal1 8 July, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

    Fom stalking horse to dark horse? Remember the Bf-109 wasn’t favored to win either.
    I don’t think it has a chance of a snow flake..but it will be fun to watch as the Russians potentially get a chance to screw around with our procurement system. (Not that it needs any help either.)

  6. sferrin 9 July, 2010 at 4:41 pm #

    If it weren’t so easy to buy a politician these days they wouldn’t even waste their time.

  7. Jetcal1 9 July, 2010 at 7:11 pm #

    Sferrin,
    Yeah but the good ones are very expensive and with the added requirement of an annual “fest” in their hometown quite capital intensive.

  8. Cordless Radar Detector Review 23 July, 2010 at 10:19 pm #

    Fight a wolf with a flex stalk.

  9. Henry Decarlo 14 September, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    I talked about this on my blog last week – I’d post a link but then this comment would get treated as spam

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