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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia's Defense Ministry Removes An-70 From National Armament Program

Sputnik News

14:54 02.03.2015(updated 14:56 02.03.2015)

Russia currently uses the Il-476 multi-purpose four-engine strategic airlifter as an alternative to An-70.

Russia's Ministry of Defense has removed the Antonov An-70 military transport aircraft, jointly developed by Russia and Ukraine, from its national armament program, the Izvestia newspaper said.

The ministry could also request the return of 2.95 billion rubles (nearly $100 million at the 2010 exchange rate) transferred to Ukraine's Antonov design bureau in 2010, when both countries started research and development work on the project, initially launched in the early 1980s. The An-70 was supposed to replace the aging An-12.

The troubled project was plagued by lack of funding and technical difficulties leading to constant delays in manufacturing. In 2009, Russia and Ukraine signed an intergovernmental agreement to resume the work on the project at the MAKS International Aviation and Space Salon.

Russia had not been involved in the venture since the February 2014 coup in Kiev. Ukraine had been completing the work on the project on its own. The plane has already successfully completed testing and is expected to be introduced into Ukraine's military service in 2015.

Russia's Ministry of Defense had planned to purchase 60 An-70 planes by 2020. They would have paid approximately $67 million apiece. Russia currently uses the Il-476 multi-purpose four-engine strategic airlifter as an alternative to An-70.

Although An-70 has a potential to be an attractive competitor on the international market, the Antonov bureau might have trouble catching up with rivals, including Airbus, Lockheed Martin, and Embraer.

Sputnik



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