The Antonov state aircraft manufacturing enterprise has begun studying options for replacement of Russian parts for the Ukrainian An-124 plane with the aim of reducing its dependence on Russian suppliers, reports.

One of the An-124 planes currently in use will be the test platform. Antonov plans to install new tires, brakes, and avionics on it. Work on replacement of parts is due to start in 2016 during performance of intensive maintenance, after which test flights will begin.

According to Antonov’s chief designer Dmytro Kiva, the political situation has significantly increased the demand for parts from western firms.

Currently, the An-124 plane is often used for the needs of NATO. Apart from reducing political risks, modernization of the plane’s avionics may also result in reduction of operating costs by reducing the number of crewmembers.

In addition, the Antonov state enterprise is considering the possibility of replacing the An-70 plane’s Progress D-27propfan engines with turboprop engines. This will allow the plane to continue to take off from unpaved strips, but it will increase the length of strip required for take-off and landing. According to Kiva, the An-70 program is currently frozen because of its dependence on Russia for supply of D-27 engines.

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