Antonov An-178 - Ukraine, 2017
Detailing the development and operational history of the Antonov An-178 Medium-Lift Tactical Military Transport Aircraft.
Entry last updated on 7/6/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The An-178 marks a new medium-class airlifter for Antonov of Ukraine - the sole prototype debuted at Paris Air Show 2015.
The Antonov An-178 is a cargo variant of the An-158 99-passenger airliner, itself a stretched fuselage version of the original An-148 (detailed elsewhere on this site) introduced in 2009. The An-178 represents a medium-lift tactical military- / civilian-market transport alternative to competing designs such as the emerging Brazilian Embraer KC-390 and the Russo-Indian UAC Il-214 MTA. It is intended as a successor to the aging line of Antonov An-12, An-26 and An-32 models still in service globally - but which have seen their best operating days (all are Cold War-era products). The An-178 initiative was launched in early 2010 and the aircraft officially rolled out in April of 2015 (Paris Air Show 2015). A first-flight by way of prototype was had on May 7th, 2015.
The An-178 borrows many of the proven qualities of the An-148/An-158 series, particularly its high-lift, high-mounted wing mainplanes. Engine nacelles are fitted - one per wing - to the wing undersides. The flight deck offers excellent vision over-the-nose and the tail configuration is of a traditional "T" arrangement. The empennage is elevated to provide the necessary access to the cargo ramp under the tail, giving proper access to the hold within the belly of the airplane. Much of the wings and forward fuselage are taken directly from the An-158 without much modification. The main landing gear legs number four and are single-wheeled to contend with the weights involved in transporting military goods to and fro. The nose leg features the standard two-wheel fitting. Construction used throughout the aircraft is largely of composites and lightweight aluminum.
Power is served through 2 x Progress D-436-148FM turbofan engines approximately 15,000lb of thrust each. This provides the aircraft with a cruising speed in the 500 mile per hour range with operating ceilings of 42,650 feet. Its cargo-hauling capability is 22,045 lb over a range of 2,500 miles. 40,000 lb can be transported to 620 miles.
At least 35 aircraft have been committed to from operators in Azerbaijan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Sil Way Airlines of Azerbaijan is the launch customer with ten aircraft ordered. The Royal Saudi Air Force expects a stock of at least thirty An-178s.