The Antonov An-178 military transport aircraft is making its Middle East debut at the Dubai Airshow.
The Antonov (stand 2210) An-178 military transport aircraft is making its Middle East debut at the Dubai Airshow.
It forms the centrepiece of the Ukrainian company’s on-going effort to break into the Middle Eastern and African markets.
Mykhaylo Gvozdov, Antonov’s acting president, said: “Participation in the Dubai Airshow has a special significance for the Antonov Company. The markets of the Middle East and Africa are among our main priorities.”
The An-178 was first exhibited at the Paris Airshow in June 2015, just a month after its maiden flight. The same prototype is being shown at Dubai.
The An-178 was originally developed to meet the requirements of the Russian air forces but, with the growing acrimony between Russia and the Ukraine, Russia turned to the rival Ilyushin Il-214. Undeterred, Antonov is offering the An-178 to meet export requirements, with its 15-18 tonne (33,000- 40,000lb) payload making it well suited as a replacement for aircraft like the Lockheed C-130, Antonov An-12 and C-160 Transall.
This is a crowded market sector, dominated by the turboprop-powered Lockheed’s advanced C-130J Super Hercules, Alenia C-27J Spartan, and Airbus Defence and Space C295.
The An-178 also has an even more direct competitor in the shape of the slightly larger but similarly turbofan-powered Embraer KC-390.
Though derived from the commercial An-158 airliner, the An-178 has a new main undercarriage and a new fuselage, and is optimised for operations from different runway surfaces and in more challenging weather and climatic conditions.
Antonov hopes that the An-178 will play a significant part in the company’s plan to get back to producing at least 200 aircraft per year, alongside the commercial An-148 and stretched An-158.
The commercial An-148 forms the basis of a less radically modified military variant, the An-148-300MP maritime patrol aircraft, which has sideways looking and maritime search radar, electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) and laser sensors, and under-wing pylons for the carriage of search and rescue equipment, smoke floats, etc.