Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered a construction of an aircraft manufacturing plant for production of tactical transport aircraft in Kazan, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said on Saturday.
The mooted plant in the capital of the republic of Tatarstan will be intended in particular for the construction of Antonov An-70 propfan tactical transport aircraft and possibly in the future for the production of a new generation strategic bombers, the minister said.
“It will be the most up-to-date plant producing An-70 aircraft, and as soon as with settle the issue with new long-range aircraft, it might be produced there as well,” Serdyukov said.
Two weeks ago Lt. Gen. Viktor Kachalkin, the commander of Russia’s Military Transport Aviation (VTA), announced that the service will receive 60 Antonov An-70 propfan tactical transport aircraft by 2020.
The Ukrainian-designed An-70, which is being built together with Russia, has had a long-running and troubled gestation, with one prototype crashing in the 1990’s in a collision and a second crashing in 2001 in a take-off accident in Omsk. The aircraft also had a history of snags with its propfan engines.
Russia pulled out of the project in 2006, with Russia Air Force commander Vladimir Mikhailov stating it did not need the aircraft and would prefer the modernized Il-76, but it later rejoined the program.