Boeing Jumps In To Help Antonov
Aviall, a Boeing Company has announced getting involved with Ukrainian Aircraft manufacturer Antonov to enable the stricken concern to continue production of its An-178, An-148, An-158 regional aircraft. The company plans to deliver components which Antonov used to procure from Russia. In exchange, Antonov will be supposed to sign maintenance agreements with the American firm.
In 2015 the conflict between Russia and the Ukraine caused a seizure of business relations between the countries, expanding to the eventual prohibition of all technical cooperation. With production facilities standing still – and despite a complete operative takeover by Ukrainian military concern ‘Ukroboronprom’ there had been no improvements for the last three years.
Antonov’s president Juri Kissilew and Petro Poroschenko who is head of State in Ukraine, are hoping for better times ahead, with two to three aircraft planned for manufacture in 2018, followed by up to 8, in 2019. Meanwhile, the Russians are working on continuing Antnov tradition by re-manufacturing the An-124, a heavy lifter developed in the 1970’s. With 120 tons of useful load, there has been a noticable market in Russia with Russian’s Volga-Dnepr Airlines calling for up to 100 of the planes, which are used by Airbus and Boeing as well as NATO when heavy equipment needs to relocate long distances.
Russian Aerospace Comissar Juri Sytnik would like to see new engines and a new gear as well as fresh avionics used in such a plane, together with renaming the aircraft to avoid uproar from Antonov. Russia has been trying to hire trained personell from Antonov, stating that perspectives would be much better in Russia and that people deciding to change sides had a first hand chance to continue the Russian aircraft building tradition. Oleg Antonov had started the company in 1946 in Nowosibirsk before moving to Kiew in 1952.
Antonov’s leadership is doubting Russia’s ability to remanufacture the aircraft without Antonov influence and know-how, however Alexej Rogosin, the former lead of the now defunct UAC conglomerate believes the project to be very difficult but managable, considering that most of the AN-124’s had been built on the Russian side in Uljanowsk.