SOURCE: Anand SG / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
Ukraine’s Antonov which was instrumental in designing some of the Soviet-era marvels like An-225 (world’s largest cargo aircraft) and produced thousands of other medium and small cargo planes is planning to inject western technologies and spares to bring back massive Air-lifters of USSR era being revived with Western technology.
With Ukraine’s relationship with Russia now non-existent, Antonov has taken up its self and has successfully revived An-132, which is an improved version of the Antonov An-32 with Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150 turboprop engines and Antonov An-178, which is an improved version of the Antonov An-158 and is now aggressively targeting all its old customers for fresh orders .
Indian Air Force still has large chuck on Soviet-era Cargo planes like An-32s (100+) Tactical Cargo planes made by the same company and has offered both An-132 and An-178 to be made in India to replace ageing Soviet-era aircraft. With Indo-Russian MTA Transport plane development being scrapped, Antonov sensing an opportunity it has already has roped in India Reliance Defence to manufacture them in India if selected by India.
While India doesn’t want to anger its old friend Russia and recently decided to award local Indian companies to continue upgrading its An-32 Tactical transport fleet due to botched up An-32 modernisation plans with Ukrainian company due to Ukraine-Russian tensions after Russia invaded Crimea, India has been maintaining its distance from Ukraine but still needs to rely on Ukrainian Engines for its Russian designed Warships and Transporters .
Ukraine now plans to bring back old stored An-124 massive air lifters powered by General Electric CF6 engines back to life in next few years. India is yet to take final call on An-32 replacement aircraft and Western Alternatives are not only expensive but also requires heighten investment in ecosystem in the country to sustain their operations which some time leads to avoidable delays in procurement of this aircraft as seen with Avro Transport Replacement program, Ukrainian Transporters provide India will blend of reliable technology from the west with affordability of the east .
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