Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Turkey and Ukraine Proceed with An-188 Transport Aircraft Program

May 29, 2018 (Defence News and Analysis Group) At Eurasia Airshow 2018, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and Ukroboronprom’s (UOP) Antonov jointly announced that they would proceed with the development and production of Antonov’s An-188 military transport aircraft. The announcement follows an earlier agreement signed by the governments of Turkey and Ukraine in 2016 to jointly manufacture airliners and transport aircraft. Antonov revealed the An-188 during the 2015 Paris Air Show as a turbofan-engine variant of the An-70, which had originally been slated (in the 1990s and 2000s) as a propfan-based competitor to the Airbus A400M Atlas. At the time, Antonov could not commit to a firm date as to when the An-188 would fly, but it had always intended to configure the An-188 with Western-origin engines and onboard electronics.

The joint-production agreement between Antonov and TAI both maintains this framework, but it extends it as well by promising a ‘NATO-standard’ aircraft. Based on Ukroboronprom’s press statement, Antonov’s commitment to NATO compliance involves “westernization of all components, implementation of modern and reliable technical solutions, as well as full compliance with NATO standards.” The An-188 has the essential inputs – i.e. a credible funding source and launch customer in the form of Turkey, pursuit of existing turbofan engines and electronics and Antonov’s expertise – to materialize. As per Ukroboronprom’s press statement, TAI and Antonov will proceed to the “practical implementation of the project (An-188) in the near future.”However, specific timelines have not been provided.