Russia pulls out of joint plane project with Ukraine - minister

Other News Materials 31 May 2006 15:02 (UTC +04:00)

(RIA Novosti) - Russia has withdrawn from a joint program with Ukraine to produce the An-70 military transport aircraft as the project is outdated, the defense minister said Wednesday.

"The An-70 project has been being carried out on a technical order initiated in 1984, and no end is in sight," Sergei Ivanov, also a deputy prime minister, said at a meeting of defense ministers from former Soviet republics in the Azerbaijani capital, Baku. "We will see what comes next. We will make a separate statement on this issue."

The An-70 program has experienced a number of setbacks since it was launched in 1990, with major concerns focusing around the D-27 turbopropfan engines designed by Ukraine's Progress design bureau, reports Trend.

The first prototype was lost in a mid-air collision in 1995, while the second prototype crash-landed in January 2001 during a test flight near Omsk, Russia.

The estimated cost of industrial production of the An-70 has been put at $50-55 million. Russia's Defense Ministry originally ordered 15 planes, which would have larger payload capacities than the U.S. C-130 Hercules.