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20 June, 00:00

The aviation/space show “Aviasvit XXI” held at Hostomel attracted over 200 companies from 18 countries and demonstrated that Ukraine can effectively meet the world’s most complicated challenges. Not so long ago our AN-70 project partner said it was pulling out. However, it is absolutely clear that a country capable of shouldering the burden of such an international air show can single-handedly bring practically any project to completion. Under the circumstances, Russia had to make adjustments to its “partnership” intentions.

Aleksandr Fomin, deputy director of Russia’s Military-Technological Cooperation Federal Service, announced in Kyiv that Ukraine and Russia are continuing to work on the AN-70 military cargo aircraft project. He added that he “cannot agree” with the explanation that Russia wants to pull out of the project in conjunction with Ukraine’s NATO membership plans. Fomin sounded positive about the fact that in 2005 Russia imported products worth 30 million dollars from Ukraine for its aviation industry, which considerably surpasses previous years’ indices.

It was also learned during the air show that work will soon be resumed on upgrading the AN-124-100 Ruslan project and preparing it for serial production. Dmytro Kiva, Antonov ANTK’s chief designer, emphasized, “We have an effective AN-124 modernization and construction agreement with Russia. Expert and preparatory works are underway. We are also looking for partners, and project presentations continue.”

Kiva added that the Russian company Volga-Dnipro is taking an active stand and that Antonov ANTK is actively negotiating deals with various foreign business entities. “We are negotiating with a number of companies, so the contours of this partnership will be outlined by the end of the year.” The chief designer added that cooperation entails a Western partner’s involvement in financial, industrial, and marketing support, including after-sales aircraft service on the foreign market.

Kiva went on to say that the presence of a foreign partner would serve to considerably increase the number of foreign orders for AN planes: “Our Russian colleagues and we realize that developing the program on the Ukrainian and Russian markets is perhaps not quite expedient and is economically ineffective... Without the participation of a Western industrial partner it would be difficult to promote this product only with the mark ‘Made in Ukraine or Russia.’” The chief designer also noted that this is a question of involving “people from Western aviation industries, who understand the wonderful prospects of this project and who don’t want to pass up the chance.” According to Kiva, 30-40 modernized Ruslans are slated for production.

In a word, Ukraine, with the aid of partners, is entering the world aviation market. We have no alternative, and all this will have to be taken into account.

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