Antonov has raised an objection against any use of its brand to designate a revamped variant of the An-124 heavy transport that is being developed by Ilyushin.
In a statement, published on its website, Antonov acknowledges the need for continued modernisation of the outsize freighter to prolong its service life, and pays tribute to its Russian peer for conducting the work on its own. But the Ukrainian design house sounds a warning, asserting that “selection and installation of the equipment by Ilyushin will cause grave changes in the aircraft performance compared to the baseline model".
It adds: "This could effectively lead to the appearance of a quite different aircraft type.”
Having had no hand in the revamp, Antonov says it will not be responsible for the freighter's safety and argues that the aircraft should bear a different designation without reference to its own long-established brand name.
The type was initially intended for the air force and validated for the civilian use between 1990 and 1992. Afterwards, four civil versions of the baseline An-124 had been certificated until the type's production was halted in 2003.
In response to a request from the Russian government, Ilyushin two years began working on development of an extensively modified An-124-100M variant based solely on domestically produced components and, potentially, to be equipped with new domestic heavy-thrust PD-35 engines.