The An-178 aircraft could bring Ukraine billions of dollars. "According to a conservative estimate, 100 aircraft. That is USD 4 billion. That is a sufficient volume and a good potential for Ukraine," the Antonov state aircraft manufacturing enterprise’s General Designer Dmytro Kiva said in an interview with the LigaBusinessInform publication, assessing the market size for the new transport plane.
According to him, Antonov can produce 12 such planes per year at its existing facilities and 24 aircraft per year after modernization. Testing and certification of the new model will take up to 1.5 years.
Kiva said that the average cost of a single aircraft would be about USD 40 million, depending on specifications, the volume of orders, equipment, and other factors.
The general designer refused to disclose the value of a contract with Azerbaijan for supply of 10 transport planes to the company Silk Way Airlines and the value of a contract with China for supply of two An-178 airplanes and establishment of their licensed production in the country.
Negotiations are currently being held with companies from Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, and other countries for supply of An-178 airplanes. "But Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia are primarily interested purchases," said Kiva.
Asked about the airplane considered as the competitor to the AN-178, Kiva said there was none. "It is in a free niche that nothing occupies - between the Italian C-27 with a maximum payload of 8-10 tons and the C-130 Hercules with a maximum payload of 15 tons. It is important that our aircraft facilitates transports all types of cargo, including palletized goods in shipping containers," said the general designer.
"In addition, the An-178 is highly efficient – a higher speed with the same payload. It has a large, hermetic glass cockpit (instrument displays are used instead of pointer instruments) and a modern digital set of equipment in the cockpit. It can land on unpaved airfields," Kiva added.
According to him, the landing gear and part of the equipment systems of the An-178 are delivered from Russia. The airframe - the wings, the center wing, the fuselage with a ramp - are fully manufactured at Antonov’s facilities.
The An-178 is medium-range transport aircraft designed to replace the outdated An-12 transport aircraft. The An-178 was created in cooperation with companies from 15 countries. It has a speed of 825 kilometers per hour, a maximum payload of 18 tons (two standard shipping containers), an altitude of 12 kilometers, and a range of 5,500 km. The aircraft is capable of landing and taking off from any airfield, including unpaved airfields, making it useful for defense purposes.