Antonov An-70 is a four-engine medium military freighter aircraft designed and manufactured by Antonov ASTC of Ukraine. The short take-off and landing (STOL) capable aircraft is being built to replace the company’s An-12 Cub transport aircraft. It is the first large aircraft to be powered by propfan engines. Two An-70 prototypes have been built to date.
An-12 Cub transport aircraft
The An-12 (NATO reporting name Cub) is a Cold War era transport aircraft. Antonov’s design bureau at Kiev built its first large military transport in 1955 with the twin-turboprop An-8 becoming a standard type. From this was derived the civil An-10 with four engines and a pressurized fuselage, from which in turn came the mass-produced An-12 military transport with full-width rear loading doors. First prototype flew in 1958.
From its entry into service in 1959, the An-12 became the most important transport in Soviet military service. Production of this aircraft ceased in 1973. Over 1 200 aircraft were built. The An-12 was widely exported. Although replacement by the Ilyushin II-76 began in 1974, some 560 An-12’s out of 800 delivered, were still in front-line duty as transports in 1986. The majority of these aircraft were An-12B machines, this variant becoming the standard transport in Soviet service from 1963. Together with the Il-76 it formed the backbone of the Soviet Airlift Command throughout the Cold War.
Approximately 250 ‘Cub’ transports still serve with the Russian Air Forces; smaller numbers fulfil intelligence gathering roles with the Russian Naval Aviation. ‘Cubs’ also serve with CIS air arms in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Outside the CIS, An-12s are remain in active service in Angola, Eritrea, Guinea, Iraq, Mozambique, Sudan, Yemen and possibly some other countries. This military cargo aircraft is still widely used around the world with civil companies. Source military-today.com
An-70 cargo aircraft variants, orders and deliveries
The An-70 has three variants, including the An-70T, the An-70TK and the An-112KC.
The An-70T is a cargo transport plane principally used for commercial applications. The An-70TK is a twin engine passenger or freight transformable aircraft. The An-112KC is an aerial refuelling model used in the KC-X programme for the USAF.
The Ukrainian Air Force ordered five An-70 aircraft in November 2005. The fuselage of the first serial production aircraft was completed in December 2012. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2013.
The Russian Air Force ordered 40 An-70s in June 2010. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2013.
Five An-70s will be procured by Volga-Dnepr airlines. Antonov signed a contract with the Czech Republic in 2005 to supply three An-70 military transport airplanes.
Russia and Ukraine are planning to procure 165 and 65 An-70 aircraft respectively during the next 20 years.
Russia may purchase An-70 freighters in 2013 based on the success of flight tests to be conducted in 2013. It is currently operating a fleet of An-12 Cub, IL-76MD and An-124 transport aircraft.
Russia Defence ministry ruled out An-70 for state procurement
In March 2015 Russia Defence ministry declared that they are ruling out the An-70 for state procurement. They also declared that, as in their opinion, Ukraine has withdrawn from the military and defence agreements signed before the crisis between them by completing the plane without Russian involvement, they would request return of 2.95 billion rubles that Russian government had spent on An-70 project. Source wikipedia.org
According to Russian news
Development of the Ukrainian military aircraft
The development of An-70 began in the 1990s and the first prototype was rolled out in January 1994. The maiden flight of the first prototype occurred in December 1994 in Kiev, Ukraine. It crashed in February 1995 during a mid-air collision that took place with an An-72 chase plane.
Antonov launched the second prototype in December 1996 and its maiden flight took place in April 1997. The prototype was showcased at the Moscow Air Show in August 1997. The second prototype also endured damage in January 2001 due to an emergency landing.
Russia and Ukraine unveiled a decision in June 2000 to build a Chinese An-70 version with co-operation from China. The two nations jointly financed the development of An-70 in 2002 as part of a 50:50 risk sharing deal. The Chinese version was displayed at MAKS Air Show held in Russia in 2003. Russia, however, withdrew from the project in April 2006, due to financial crisis and rigid political relationships between Russia and Ukraine. China and Ukraine jointly built the An-70-600 in 2008.
Y-20 / Y-XX – Antonov Participation
At the 2008 Zhuhai airshow, Antonov displayed a model of the large An-70 military transport aircraft, based on which China and Ukraine could jointly develop the AN-70-600. The new An-70-600 transport aircraft’s maximum payload was expected be 48t-50t compared to An-70’s 47t. One of China’s requirements is that An-70-600’s flight range should be at least 3,200km when carrying the maximum load. China also hoped that it can carry at least 3 China-made infantry fighting vehicles, or 120-150 paratroopers.
According to Ukrainian reports, at least three design candidates were submitted to the Chinese to address the Y-20 requirements:
- An-70 turboprop
- An-77, a version of the An-70 with turbofans
- An-170, a heavily modified and larger version of the An-70
According to Ukrainian sources, the Antonov bureau proposed a radical development of its An-70 transport that would replace its current contra-rotating propfan engines with four turbofan engines, lengthen the fuselage and increase cargo capacity to between 50 and 60 tons. This would approach the 70-ton capacity of the Boeing C-17 and exceed the 50-ton capability of the Ilyushin Il-76MD. The Chinese military transport aircraft would adopt different design concepts and technologies than the An-70 transport aircraft designed by Ukraine and Russia, and will be powered by four jet engines.
It appeared the new An-70 variant may be able to carry four of the ZLC-2000 airborne tank revealed in 2005 by the PLA. In September 2005 the PLA agreed to purchase about 32 Il-76MD transports, which can carry three ZLC-2000s, in addition to about 20 acquired during the 1990s. Antonov has also helped China’s Shaanxi Aircraft Company to produce a much improved version of the Y-8 called the Y-9, which can carry 20 tons of cargo. In addition, China held discussions with Antonov regarding the possible co-production of the 150-ton capacity An-124 Ruslan, which exceeds the 120-ton capacity of the US C-5 transport.
By early 2007 ANTK Antonov set up a new VTL (Heavy Transport Aircraft) working group, to start developing a heavy transport using the existing designs for the An-77, a turbojet version of the An-70, which had earlier been put on hold. The take-off weight of the aircraft was increased from 132 tonnes to 187 tonnes, the maximum payload went up from 47 to 50 tonnes, and the volume of the cargo bay was increased by adding a 2-meter insert in the airframe in front of the center-wing section. The original An-77 design relied on four CFM56-5A16 bypass turbofan engines; these were replaced by four D-30KP-2 bypass turbofan engines eventually used in the Y-20. The aircraft retained the ability to take-off and land using short landing strips, although the take-off length went up to 900m. The solution for increasing the thrust was the same as used in the An-77. First introduced in the C-17A Globemaster III, it directs the exhaust jet of the bypass turbofan engine at the high-lift flaps. Source globalsecurity.org
See details of the Chinese Y-20: HERE
In August 2009, Russia signed a deal with Ukraine to renew its plans to fund the An-70 project. Russia offered $11m in December 2009 and is planning to invest an additional $96m. The user testing of the aircraft took place in August 2010. Antonov transferred the design documentation to Russia for commencing the production at Kazan aviation plant. (See above In March 2015 Russia Defence ministry declared that they are ruling out the An-70 for state procurement.)
Antonov An-70 design and cockpit
The An-70 was designed to take-off from and land on concrete and unpaved airstrips including soft ground and snow. It can manoeuvre day or night in bad weather conditions.
The aircraft boasts a large freight compartment for cargo storage. The compartment is 19.1m long, four metres wide and 4.1m high. It can accommodate 35,000kg to 47,000kg of cargo and 300 troops. It can also carry 38,000kg of fuel.
The An-70 features a spacious glass cockpit which can accommodate the three crew members – pilot, co-pilot and flight engineer. The cockpit is fitted with six full colour digital displays and a head up display, which aids the aircraft’s landing on short airfields.
Automated navigational and flight control systems are incorporated for quick analysis and servicing.
Engines and cargo systems of the military freighter aircraft
The Antonov An-70 is powered by four Ivchenko Progress D-27 three-shaft propfan engines. Each engine can produce 10,350kW of output power. FADEC compatible, the D-27 engine is fitted with two remote gearboxes, a single stage compressor, a four stage low pressure turbine and a jetpipe.
The engine is 4.19m long, 1.25m wide and 1.37m high. Its dry weight is 1,650kg. The lifespan of the engine is 18,000 hours.
D-27 TURBOPROPFAN ENGINE
Main advantages of the engine:
– high efficiency;
– high reliability and trouble-free operation;
– low maintenance man hours;
– continuous monitoring of a complex of parameters under algorithms for testing the engine and propfan conditions;
– low emission level;
– low noise level.v
Takeoff power condition (SLS, ISA +15 °C, PAMB=730mm Hg):
Equivalent, ehp (kW)
Specific fuel consumption, kg/ehp•h (kg/eqkW•h)
Maximum cruise power condition (H = 11000 m, Mfl = 0.7, ISA):
Equivalent power, ehp (kW)
Specific fuel consumption, kg/ehp•h (kg/eqkW•h)
Dry weight, kg
D-27 TURBOPROPFAN ENGINE spetstechnoexport.com
The incorporation of SV-27 counter rotating propeller in the power plant increases cruise speed as well as reduces the fuel consumption by 20% to 30% as compared to modern turbojets.
The aircraft features four overhead rail electric motor hoists to lift 12,000kg of cargo. Two on-board electric winches can lift 30,000kg of freight. A built-in aerial delivery system allows autonomous loading or unloading of cargoes and can be used for air drops.
Antonov An-70 performance
The An-70 can climb at a rate of 24.9m/s. The maximum and cruise speeds of the aircraft are 780km/h and 750km/h respectively.
The stall speed is 113km/h. The range of the aircraft is 6,600km, while the ferry range is 8,000km. The service ceiling is 12,000m.
- Ukrainian Air Force – In 2010 two deliveries were expected in 2011 and 2012. However, as of 2015 the status of this order is unknown.
Data from Back in the Air
- Crew: 4 (Two pilots, navigator and flight engineer)
- Capacity: 300 troops or 206 stretcher cases
- Payload: 47,000 kg (103,620 lb) of cargo
- Length: 40.7 m (133 ft 6 in)
- Wingspan: 44.06 m (144 ft 7 in)
- Height: 16.38 m (53 ft 9 in)
- Empty weight: 66,230 kg (146,000 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 145,000 kg (319,670 lb)
- Powerplant: 4 × Progress D-27propfans, 10,350 kW (13,880 hp) each
- Maximum speed: 780 km/h (421 knots, 485 mph)
- Cruise speed: 750 km/h (405 knots, 466 mph)
- Stall speed: 113 km/h (61 knots, 70 mph)
- Range: 6,600 km or 5,000 km (3,564 nm or 2,700nm) with 20 or 35 tonnes of cargo
- Service ceiling: 12,000 m (39,370 ft)
- Rate of climb: 24.9 m/s (81.7 ft/s)
Specification source wikipedia.org
Main material source airforce-technology.com
Updated May 30, 2019