In an interview with the Kommersant newspaper, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has criticized the Ukrainian aircraft manufacturing industry for being slow in implementing joint projects with Russia, such as the project for joint production of the An-124 Ruslan and An-70 airplanes.
"I do not understand them because we will simply be forced to localize all production in Russia if they do not decide now, and we will stop using their services completely. Whom are they going to work with? With the Chinese? Sell to the Chinese? China has also advanced very far in this regard. Why would they need Ukraine? I am sincerely worried about the fate of our industrial cooperation with Ukraine," said Rogozin.
According to him, Ukraine does not want to transfer the right to modernize individual units of the An-124 aircraft to Russia. "But we will not wait any longer, we will use international experience... We will modernize,” he said.
Rogozin described the An-70 as a “virtual” aircraft because Russia can only judge its ability to take-off from short runways and from the unpaved ground and other abilities only on paper.
In addition, the An-70 is almost a direct competitor of the IL-496 airplane in terms of its technical characteristics, Rogozin said. "I will ask the question: why do we need multi-topicality, especially with half-hearted batches? Do we need to produce, say, 50 IL-476 and 50 An-70 at our own factory? We are interested in large batches, in our businesses operating at serious capacity, and in their specialization so that every plant does not turn into subsistence production," said the deputy prime minister.
Rogozin also expressed the opinion that it is necessary to locate all the critically important production facilities on Russian territory. "I would venture to suggest that the future of Ukrainian industry lies exclusively in deeper cooperation with Russia," he stressed.
Kommersant reported in July that there were proposals to redirect Russian state budget from the launch of serial production of An-70 airplanes to a program for supporting the manufacturer of Superjet, which was on the verge of bankruptcy. Earlier, the president and general designer of Ukraine’s Antonov state enterprise, Dmytro Kiva, said that Russia was refusing to accept the technical documentation necessary to begin production of the An-70.
The An-70 is a new-generation, medium-range cargo (operational and tactical military transport) airplane. The airplane is superior to the similar airplanes existing today in terms of its characteristics, including the European A400M airplane, compared to which the An-70 is twice cheaper to purchase and operate. The An-70 has a maximum payload of 47 tons (the declared payload of the A400M is 37 tons), a cargo bay volume of 425 cubic meters (340 cubic meters), and a cost of USD 67 million dollars (EUR 145 million).
Serial production of the An-70 is planned to be performed at Russia’s Gorbunov Kazan Aircraft Production Association (Tatarstan), with its wing, tail, and engine produced in Ukraine.
Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Yurii Boiko said in July that an agreement with Russia on resuming production of the An-124 aircraft was planned for September. Talks on this have been going on for several years, but the process almost stalled because of lack of customers. The Defense Ministry of Russia was expected to be the first customer for the new An-124, but the ministry determined in in January 2013 that these airplanes were unsuitable.
With a payload of 150 tons, the An-124-100 Ruslan airplane is the world's largest serially produced heavy transport airplane. The leading operators of the airplane are the Antonov Airlines (Ukraine) and Volga-Dnepr (Russia).
Since 2003, the Antonov state enterprise (Kiev), the Motor Sich company (Zaporozhe), and Volga-Dnepr (Moscow) have been implementing a phased program for re-launching production, development and production of a modernized version of the aircraft for the global market. According to various expert assessments, serial production of the aircraft can be launched no earlier than between 2015 and 2020, and the projected order for the modernized aircraft is 40-100. It was reported in January this year that Volga-Dnepr could start manufacturing the An-124 in Germany.