The mysterious role of the only An-70 transporter of the Ukrainian Air Force

 The whereabouts of the only An-70 aircraft transporter of the Ukrainian Air Force since the outbreak of the war have raised many questions for the media.

A photo showing the take-off of the Antonov An-70 heavy military transport plane of the Ukrainian Air Force has appeared in the country’s press, the time being around the summer of 2022.

This is valuable information because it was the first “public appearance” of the An-70 transport aircraft in the entire war. In addition, as of 2022, this aircraft still only exists in a single prototype.

From public information we can recall the following – officially, an An-70 prototype was approved by the Ukrainian armed forces in 2015, and as of early 2021, Antonov State Enterprise approved the mass production plan.

In July and August 2021, An-70 made several flights prepare for the parade to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Independence of Ukraine. The “warrior review” activity on August 24, 2021, of this mechanical transport took place successfully.

By September 2021, the media learned of Ukroboronprom’s intention to accelerate the production of An-70, because Ukraine had previously “imported substitution” all important components.

Although there is no public data on Ukrobonprom’s actual progress in this direction until February 2022, the reason why the An-70 assembly line has not been operational is mainly related to funding.

If we take the period from February 24 to today, there is no news about the fate of the only prototype of the An-70 mechanical transport in the public media.

The rare image posted cannot say exactly what mission this “carrier” can be used for. But the fact is that the plane avoided the fate of the An-225 Mriya when it was able to evacuate from Gostomel airport.

It is likely that only An-70 of the Ukrainian Air Force is temporarily residing in Poland with the An-124 and Il-76 squadron and is still carrying out flights carrying weapons and NATO military equipment. about the country.

An-70 has a crew of 4; length 40.7 m; wingspan of 44.06 m; height 16.38 m; empty weight 66,230 kg; Maximum take-off weight 145,000 kg. With the above parameters, this is the second largest propeller transport aircraft in the world after the An-22 Antaeus.

The An-70’s Progress D27 reverse-rotating twin propeller engines have a length of 4.2 m; 1.2 m wide; 1.3 m high; propeller diameter of 4.5 m; capacity of 14,000 hp (10,440 kW) for a maximum speed of 780 km/h; flight range 6,600 km when carrying 20-35 tons of cargo; flight ceiling 12,000 m.

The cargo compartment of the An-70 can carry all kinds of equipment and weapons of CIS and NATO countries, or vehicles and construction equipment weighing up to 47 tons (machinery). can carry up to 300 paratroopers or 206 ambulance stretchers).

The cockpit of the An-70 is very modern with 6 multi-function displays instead of the mechanical clocks on older generation transport aircraft. The An-70’s control and monitoring system allow operation at both field airports or when there is no support from the ground.

Antonov An-70 is expected to become a formidable competitor to Europe’s Airbus A400M in the international military transport aircraft market when it officially goes into mass production.

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