09 Juli 2011

Antonov Details Plans for An-178 Airlifter

09 Juli 2011

Antonov An-178 airlifter (photo : militaryphotos)

Antonov has confirmed plans to launch flight tests in 2013 of its new An-178 airlifter, a potential rival to turboprop designs such as the Alenia Aeronautica C-27J and Lockheed Martin C-130J.

The twinjet derivative of the An-158 airliner and business jet still remains in the design stages, with the concept having been revealed less than two years ago.

An-178 is the further development of An-148 (photo : Keypublishing)

The An-178 adds a rear cargo door and ramp, but retains most of the features of the high-wing An-158, which is itself a stretched version of the 70-85-seat An-148 regional jet.

Antonov has released conflicting information about the payload capacity of the military development. In a recent interview, a company official described the maximum payload of the aircraft as being 18,000kg (36,700lb). But marketing documents distributed at the Paris air show list the same statistic as 15,000kg.

Antonov An-148 of the Myanmar Air Force (phota: Russian Planes)

Launched as a replacement for the An-12, the An-178 is one of several new light airlifters expected to enter the market during this decade. Embraer's KC-390 and the Hindustan Aeronautics/ United Aircraft multi-role transport aircraft are the closest competitors.

Antonov recently restarted production of its An-70 strategic transport, and also has revealed that preliminary design activities are being performed on a weaponised maritime patrol aircraft based on the An-168.

(Flight Global)

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