Progress in the Russo-Ukrainian project to resume serial production of the modernised Antonov An-124 freighter has stalled over unresolved intellectual property issues.

The plan calls for extensive new design work to be carried out in both countries, one of which owns the Antonov design bureau and the other Ulyanovsk-based factory Aviastar, designated as the An-124 producer.


"This naturally raises a question of who will have intellectual rights and on what in particular," says Viktor Livanov, chief of Ilyushin Aviation Complex, which is responsible for the programme on the Russian side. "But negotiations on that matter are at an impasse."

Last August newly formed United Aircraft (OAK) and state consortium Ukraine's Aviation signed a memorandum of understanding, expressing their commitment to joint efforts in building passenger and transport aircraft, including the An-124.

At the same time Volga-Dnepr Group, which is the largest operator of outsize freighters, and Antonov design bureau concluded an agreement, centred on the assembly of up to 17 enhanced An-124-100Ms as a key part of the programme to restart their production.

To handle the programme, Ilyushin set up a special directorate at Aviastar and promptly submitted a draft of intellectual property rights agreement to Ukraine, whose official response is still pending.

"We cannot move on without coming to terms first," says Livanov, indicating that there are 41 orders for new An-124s from Volga-Dnepr, another Russian cargo carrier Polet and customers in the United Arab Emirates.

"All of them want to have an upgraded version with the increased range, payload of 150t and fewer crew members. Neither Ukraine can build such an aircraft on its own nor Russia can produce them without an input from Antonov."

As the issue remains unresolved, UAC has not made a final decision to resume production of the modernised An-124.