The Antonov concern of Ukraine holds a long-running, storied existence, particularly in the large aircraft domain where it has manufactured some of the largest cargo haulers in aviation history. The An-148 is a smaller addition to the company product line and serves primarily as a regional jet-powered passenger airliner (though several variants expand on the type's usefulness). The An-148 has seen manufacture in both Ukraine and Russia under the Antonov and Voronezh Aircraft brand labels with some 32 having been completed to date (2014) - some 56 having been ordered. Operators currently include Rossiya Airlines and Ukraine International Airlines among a growing pool of others worldwide. First flight of a prototype occurred on December 17th, 2004 and the product was officially introduced on June 2nd, 2009. Comparable aircraft to the An-148 include the market mainstay Canadian Bombardier CRJ700, the in-development Chinese COMAC ARJ21 and the emerging Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100.
The An-148 takes on something of a unique appearance as jet airliners go, particularly in the selection of a high-mounted, swept-back wing assembly. This allows for the considerably large turbofan engines - one to a wing - to be underslung beneath each wing and held ahead of the leading edge while using a low-profile undercarriage. The cockpit sits aft of a pointed, short nose cone which provides good visibility from the cockpit of the surrounding airspace. The fuselage is expectedly tubular on the whole while being tapered at the rear to which a T-style tail assembly is featured. Rectangular doors along the fuselage sides allow for passenger entry/exit and the fuselage sides (complete with integrated staircases) are also dotted with vision ports. The undercarriage is wholly-retractable and consists of two double-tired main landing gear legs and a double-tired nose leg, the latter under the cockpit floor. The An-148 promotes a low ground clearance when at rest to which the engine nacelles are served well by the high-mounted wings. The cockpit takes a largely digital approach featuring five color displays and dual controls. Power is served through 2 x Progress D-436 turbofan engines developing 15,060lbs of thrust. Based on published numbers, cruising speeds reach approximately 500 miles per hour depending on variant. A typical operating crew is two and a single- or dual-class passenger arrangement allows for between 68 and 99 persons to be carried (or cargo in their place).
The base An-148 model is represented by the An-148-100A designation which seats some 70 to 80 persons in a single-class, single-aisle seating arrangement. A two-class internal arrangement seats a useful 68 passengers. The An-148-100Bc is a longer-range variant which increases operations out to 2,200 miles (from the 1,300 miles showcased through the base An-148-100A). The An-148-100E is another long-range model with an increased Maximum Take-Off Weight and can reach out to 2,700 miles. The IrAn-148 is an Iranian market airliner form which is locally assembled from kits delivered from Antonov by the HESA concern.
Beyond he An-148-100 family is the An-158 which is given a lengthened fuselage for greater internal volume and, thusly, room for more passenger seating - up to 99 in a single-class arrangement. The An-168 is a business market passenger hauler with variable seating numbers depending on the configuration and the An-178 is a dedicated cargo hauler.
The Antonov An-148 currently serves several civilian markets in the Ukraine, Russia and the European Union with other possible operators in talks.
March 2011 - An An-148 broke up in mid-flight during the aircraft's test phase, killing its crew of six, on March 5th, 2011.
February 2018 - An Antonov An-148 airliner, operating under the colors of Saratov Airlines (Flight 703), was lost on February 11th, 2018 shortly after taking off. All 71 aboard were killed.