Partners in the Future Large Aircraft project are resisting German pressure to adopt the Ukrainian-Russian Antonov An-70 as the basis for the new military transport. Such a move could cut the amount of work for British Aerospace.
The policy group behind the plans for the transport aircraft met in Moscow at the end of February, with European industry represented by Airbus. BAe said discussions were likely to continue for several weeks, until the group reports on the An-70’s prospects.
Apart from Germany’s Daimler-Benz Aerospace, the other Airbus and FLA partners including BAe and France’s Aerospatiale among others remain sceptical about the An-70.
They believe the aircraft would not meet the 80% reliability and maintainability requirement set out for a new tactical transport aircraft, and that the only way the requirement could be met is by using their design.
Critics complain of the cost of ‘westernising’ the An-70, which suffers the disadvantage of having a paratroop door in front of the propellers.
Germany is pushing for the An-70. Work on modifying the aircraft could be done in Hamburg, and a deal would help Germany improve relations with its Russian neighbours.