Finalist: Antonov Aeronautical Scientific/ Technical Complex

Location Kiev, Ukraine

Achievement Development of the propfan An-70 transport, including the second prototype. Despite setbacks, the Ukraine's Antonov design bureau is now back on track with its unique propfan An-70 military-transport programme.

The original An-70 prototype had its first flight at the end of 1994, but the programme hit disaster only a few months later with the loss of the aircraft in an a collsion with the test chase aircraft. Antonov has pressed on with the programme, however, and is now close to completing a second prototype to recommence flight testing at the end of the year, working towards a 1998 in-service date.

With the programme back on track, the judging panel felt that Antonov should receive recognition for what promises to be a highly versatile transport aircraft.

The An-70 is the first new aircraft to be designed with propfans, using four Progress D-27 engines in a blown-wing configuration. Antonov says that the engines are giving 20-30% greater fuel economy over turboprops, as well as significant increases in cruise speed and take-off weights. Payloads of 35-47t can be carried to a range of up to 3,800km (7,000nm), with cruise speeds reaching 400kt (750km/h). It can also deliver up to 300 armed soldiers to the battlefield or evacuate up to 206 sick and wounded on stretchers.

Another key strategic feature is the aircraft's ability to operate at front-line airstrips. It is possible to operate the aircraft on unpaved runways down to only 600m (2,000ft) in length.

Source: Flight International