|TRANSPORT||Virtual Aircraft Museum / USSR / Russia / Antonov|
The An-70 is a new propfan medium-size wide-body short take-off and landing transport aircraft intended to replace An-12.
It has the high wing and tail loading ramp that are typical for tactical freight aircraft; a novelty is the use of contra-rotating propfans. Maximum payload - 47 tons.
The development of the An-70 program, which began in 1975, experienced two significant setbacks. The first one was the collapse of the Soviet Union which effectively stopped the funding of most major new programs, the second setback was the crash of the first prototype on February 10, 1995. The first flight was on December 16, 1994.
Under normal circumstances, this would have certainly killed the program. However, the people behind this program knew they had an outstanding aircraft. A number of technological breakthrough are translated into impressive performances. More passion and sweat than money was put into the construction of a second prototype which is undergoing flight testing at Gostomel airport in Ukraine since April 24, 1997.
FACTS AND FIGURES
© The first prototype crashed on 10 February 1995 after colliding with its An-72 chase plane.
© Antonov has proposed twin-propfan and turbojet-powered An-70 variants.
© Each propfan has contra-rotating propellers; the front has eight composite blades, the rear just six.
© The planned An-70TK will carry either 30 tonnes of cargo or 150 passengers.
© Antonov sees other possible An-70 roles as including firefighting and naval patrol.