Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ukraine resumes tests of An-70 aircraft

Ukraine has resumed the final stage of the program of state tests of the new An-70 military-transport aircraft, which was suspended in the autumn of 2006. The landing of passengers and cargo will be soon tested on An-70 planes and a braking system will be checked during a landing on an unsurfaced runway.

The need to finance the completion of the state program of tests in 2011 is estimated at USD 132 million. Work has been launched on modernizing the aircraft's electronic equipment and systems. Partner enterprises have been given respective technical tasks.

A strategy for a special law on the national target program for the creation and purchase of An-70 military-transport aircraft has been also drafted and submitted for approval by the Ukrainian government. According to the strategy, the date for allocating the first An-70 plane to Ukrainian military servicemen was postponed from 2006 until 2011.

The program for the creation of An-70 military-transport aircraft is being implemented by Ukraine and Russia according to intergovernmental agreements. According to a contract signed in 2001, Kyiv-based Aviant Plant is currently building first two An-70 planes for the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.

In 2006, Russia expressed desire to leave the program, however, Russia's withdrawal from the project has not been yet officially registered and the partners are holding talks on extending cooperation on the program.

According to agreed estimated\s, the amount of Ukraine's and Russia's spending on the An-70 program is around USD 1.5 billion.