The Antonov An-70 is a medium-range transport aircraft developed by the Soviet/Ukrainian company Antonov in the late 1980s. It is powered by four propfan engines, which are a hybrid of propeller and jet engines, offering high speed and fuel efficiency. The An-70 is the first large aircraft to fly with propfan engines only.
The An-70 was designed to replace the Antonov An-12, a turboprop transport aircraft used by the Soviet Air Force and civil operators. The An-70 has a larger payload and range, as well as better performance in hot and high conditions. The An-70 can carry up to 47 tonnes of cargo or 300 passengers, and can operate from short and unpaved runways. The An-70 can also perform aerial delivery of cargo and paratroopers.
The An-70 made its first flight in 1994, but its development was delayed by several technical and political issues, such as engine problems, funding shortages, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The An-70 was initially a joint project between Russia and Ukraine, but their cooperation was strained by disputes over ownership, financing, and production. The An-70 was also involved in two accidents, one in 1995 and another in 2001, which resulted in the loss of two prototypes.
The An-70 has not entered full-scale production yet, and only two prototypes remain operational. The Ukrainian Air Force has ordered 10 An-70s, while the Russian Air Force has cancelled its order of 60 An-70s in favor of the Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A. The An-70 has also been offered for export to several countries, such as China, India, Iran, and Turkey.
The Antonov An-70 is a remarkable aircraft that showcases the engineering and innovation of Antonov. It is a modern and efficient transport aircraft that can perform various missions in challenging environments.