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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian Air Force Confirms Plans to Buy An-70 Planes

RIA Novosti

16:58 27/06/2012

MOSCOW, June 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will buy Ukrainian-designed Antonov An-70 propfan tactical transport aircraft when Ukraine fixes all flaws in the design indicated by Russia experts, Air Force Commander Maj. Gen Viktor Bogdanov said on Wednesday.

“The Ukrainian side has promised to finish the remaining work on the [An-70] plane in the near future,” Bogdanov said at a news conference in RIA Novosti dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Russian Air Force.

“We will definitely buy it,” Bogdanov said, adding that the previous disagreements on the purchase had been caused by flaws in the design of the plane, which Ukraine promised to fix in line with Russia's requirements.

The Ukrainian-designed An-70, which is being built together with Russia, has had a long-running and troubled gestation, with one prototype crashing in the 1990's in a collision and a second crashing in 2001 in a take-off accident in Omsk. The aircraft also had a history of snags with its propfan engines.

Russia pulled out of the project in 2006, with Russia Air Force commander Vladimir Mikhailov stating it did not need the aircraft and would prefer the modernized Il-76, but it later rejoined the program.

The Russian military earlier announced plans to purchase at least 60 An-70s.

Bondarev also said on Wednesday that the Russian Air Force will receive at least 10 An-124 super heavy-lift transport planes by 2020.

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