Brigadier General Alireza Barkhor, the deputy commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force, has stated that a two-seat derivative of the country’s homemade Saeqeh (Thunderbolt) fighter will be unveiled in a matter of months. He was hopeful that the aircraft could be ready in time to take part in the April 18 flypast over Tehran as part of National Army Day.
Russia’s Yakutia Airlines took the first of three Bombardier Q400 turboprops to its base at Yakutsk Airport in late January, marking the first-ever delivery of the big turboprop to a Russian operator. Yakutia’s new status as a Q400 operator follows type approval for the type by Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) in June last year.
Venezuela is buying up to 12 Shaanxi Y-8 transports from China. The order is part of a series of agreements between the two nations that has already seen 18 Hongdu K-8W jet trainers acquired for the air force, the first of which was delivered in March. The four-engine Y-8 is in widespread Chinese service, and was originally created as a reverse-engineered version of the Antonov An-12 Cub.
A growing order book for the 52-seat Antonov An-140 turboprop has stimulated engineers at Ukraine’s Antonov design house and the Kharkov manufacturing plant (KhGAPP) to accelerate work on the An-148, a new 70- to 80-seat regional jet scheduled for first deliveries in early 2005.
Ukraine’s Antonov An-74TK-300 made its international debut at this year’s Paris Air Show. First flown in April, the airplane had, as of mid-July, flown 35 times, including 20 missions for its certification program. It differs from the basic An-72/74 family of twinjets in its underwing engine pylons.
Ukrainian investigators have blamed “human factors” for the loss of an Antonov An-140 turboprop during a December 23 charter flight from Kharkov, Ukraine, to
Isfahan, Iran. The airplane, UR14003, operated by Kharkov-based Aeromist-Kharkov, crashed into a mountain near the village of Bargabad on approach to Isfahan airport. All 44 people on board died in the crash, including six crewmembers.
The governments of Russia and Ukraine have so far managed to prevent Western manufacturers from penetrating their countries’ markets for regional aircraft in the hope that local producers could develop competitive products. But officials have warned that prohibitive import taxes will not hold forever, particularly as Russia pushes ever harder for accession into the World Trade Organization.
Although the political crisis in Ukraine kept Antonov engineers guessing about the timing of the first flight of the 52-seat An-148, the airplane took to the air on December 17 from Kiev’s Svyatoshin Aerodrome.
The proliferation and diversification of international terrorism and crime is fueling demand for next-generation patrol aircraft for surveillance of airspace, sea and land. Nations such as Russia, Ukraine, China, India, Malaysia, South Korea and Iran want a single aircraft platform for such roles.
Most people know the Antonov An-140 as a Ukrainian airplane, developed and produced by the Kharkov State Aircraft Manufacturing Co. (KSAMC). But this 52-seat twin turboprop regional airliner has assumed a distinct international character since its inception, attracting several foreign partners and customers–including a strong Iranian connection.