The TU-330 is a massive airplane, which is intended to replace the Antonov An-12 and Il-76td [on flights of medium range], which now form the basis of civilian airline fleet specializing in the transport of goods. The TU-330 aircraft is often compared with Ukrainian An-70 aircraft. However such comparison is not very rightful since these are machines of different classes. The An-70 could be related to heavy military transport aircraft and TU-330 to mid-weight military transport aircraft.
The TU-330 was originally conceived as a workhorse transport aircraft, as well as to replace the obsolete An-12. The TU-330 aircraft was provided with government support by way of Government Resolution of the RF No.369 of 23 April, 1994 "On building of mid-class transport aircraft TU-330". Russian Government showed comprehensive understanding of the situation in the field of air cargo transportation. According to GosNIIGA 2/3 of mid-range aircraft total cargo turnover falls in flight range of 1000 to 4000 km. From the other hand exactly this area is the most critical since main mid-range aircraft An-12 being currently in operation is now intensively written off because its service life is served out.
Antonov ASTC design documentation on Tu-330 was transferred to Kazan aircraft production association. S.p. Gorbunov, which had already mastered the mass production of the TU-214. The level of standardization of the TU-330 with the base version of the Tu-204 is up 75%, which should lead to a significant reduction in the time series for the development and certification of the TU-330.
The TU-330 transport aircraft building was incorporated into Federal purpose oriented Program "Development of Civil Aircraft in Russia for 2002-2010 and for the period up to the year 2015" - Resolution of RF Government of 15 October, 2001 728:"item 13. Building of TU-330 - with lifting capacity of 35 t - 2002-2012, "Tupolev' PSC", KAPO. Certification in 2002."
The current fleet of native cargo aircraft composed of Antonovs and Ilyushins was defined in co-operation with aircraft manufacturers of Ukraine and Uzbekistan. For the time being these companies are on the territory of foreign states and in view of military and strategic conditions - it seemed not very reasonable to rely upon their participation in building aircraft of double use (civil and military-transport).
A solution to this problem in contemporary Russia was manufacturing and timed launch into service of TU-330 medium transport aircraft being a cargo version of the TU-214 aircraft that are actually ready for production at FSUE KAPO named after S.P.Gorbunov. TU-330 aircraft is 75% unified with TU-214 aircraft.
The certified and serially produced TU-204 mid-haul passenger airliner originated an entire family of new Russian transport aircraft. Leading Russian civil and military research centers analysing customers' demands in cargo transportation concluded that nowadays the major problem of cargo air transportation is a lack of up-to-date multi-purpose medium transport aircraft that can replace a widely used aircraft AN-12.
On 24 December, 2002 in "Tupolev" PSC Business Center, Moscow a "round table" was held on "Perspective Efforts of "Tupolev" PSC on cargo aircraft". The "round table" arranged by "Tupolev" Press-Service and Directorate of Military Programs was attended by representatives of Russian leading aviation editions, "Tupolev" PSC top level officials working on said subject, representatives of Russian Aviation and Space Agency, Ministry of Defense of RF, Air Force etc. The direct cause for said "round table" was a number of publications in various mass-media sources and specially in weekly "Independent Military review" No.43 of 6 to 13 December, 2002 regarding a new transport aircraft capable to replace obsolete An-12 aircraft of Civil Aviation and Air Force fleet.
In 2003, Vladimir Mikhailov, the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force, and his deputies mentioned for the first time their intention to hold a competition for a new military transport aircraft to replace An-12, taking an intermediate position in the military transport aviation fleet between the light Il-112V and the heavy-lift Il-76MF aircraft.
Aircraft designer Tupolev planned to take an active part in the tender, bidding with the Tu-330VT aircraft. Despite expectations, the company would not offer its Tu-230 project for the tender (the Tu-230 is very close to the Il-214 in performance). This decision probably stemmed from a lack of funds and the limited sales prospects for the Tu-334 passenger aircraft - from which the Tu-330 could borrow a number of components and design elements. As of mid-2004 it was also possible that a re-designed Tu-330 project could also be offered for the tender. Having been manufactured in small batches since 2003, the Tu-204-300 had a fuselage that is 6 meters shorter than the basic Tu-204.
According to Russian Military Transport Aviation Command combat training takes not more than 10% of annual flight hours, while 90% are taken by transportation in the interest of Ministry of Defense. In this case demand of different types of Armed Forces and , Air Forces are mostly satisfied by mid-class military transport aircraft. Today it is obsolete An-12, which could be replaced by TU-330 aircraft according to their demanded lift capacity and flight range.
According to Tupolev specialists the Russian civil air transportation demand was estimated as 100-120 machines, for international routes transportation - 25-30 machines, for foreign delivery - 40 and for former USSR republics - 15-20 machines. Totally it makes 180-215 machines. The total Demand of RF Ministry of Defense in TU-330 aircraft was 150-200 machines plus 70-80 machines for military authorities of other countries.
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