GOSTOMEL (Ukraine), September 27 (RIA Novosti)
An upgraded Antonov An-70 propfan tactical transport aircraft carried out a test flight on Thursday after a two-year delay, the company's president Dmytro Kyva announced.
He said the 32-minute flight at Ukraine's Aviasvit-XXI international airshow had been a success, and called this "the main event of the airshow."
Test flights were suspended for two years as the An-70 underwent vital modernization work following a number of technical malfunctions in previous flights.
The Ukrainian-designed An-70, built jointly with Russia, has had a long-running and troubled gestation period, with one prototype crashing in a collision in the 1990s, and a second crashing in 2001 in an accident during take-off in Omsk. It also had a history of problems related to its propfan engines.
Kyva said that the company had received orders for two planes from Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, and that they would also supply them to Russia.
Russia withdrew from the project in 2006, and Russian Air Force commander Vladimir Mikhailov was quoted as saying that it had no need for the aircraft and would prefer the modernized Il-76, but later rejoined the program.
The Russian military is on record as planning to purchase at least 60 An-70s by 2020.
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