Russia has stopped production of the AN-140, which was a joint project between Ukrainian Antonov and Russian Aviacor, based in Samara. The Russia initiated military operations against the Ukrainian military in the Crimean peninsula and in Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine have practically killed the supply of necessary production material from Ukraine.
Earlier Moscow seemed hopeful to continue production of the AN-140. So far only 33 AN-140s have been produced, with three more aicraft reportedly almost ready at the Aviacor plant but with not enough material to make it to their first flights. Aviacor lately delivered two AN-140s to the Russian military, but was unable to fulfill the latest full order of six. The Russian forces reportedly got at least between 10 and 14 AN-140s in 2013 and 2014.
A civilian version with 52 seats was ordered by Yakutia Airlines, with at least four out of eight delivered. In Ukraine six AN-140s are known to be operational (3 with Antonov, 3 with Motor Sich and 2 with the Illich-Avia company) with no new orders in sight. Five AN-140s crashed in service, of which the last two in Iran locally produced for HESA Airlines.
Ukraine is trying to improve the self-defence capabilities of its Mi-24 (“Hind”) and Mi-8 (“Hip”) helicopters. Specialists of the State Scientific Testing Center of the Armed Forces of Ukraine together with business partner MS Avia-Hreyd have field tested the new Adros KUV 26-50 decoy system on a Mi-24P helicopter, the Ukrainian MInistry of Defence confirmed on 24 June 2014.
The new system was tested during five flights lasting a total of two hours. The indigenous designed self-protection system is meant to make the Ukrainian military independent from foreign suppliers, such as former friend and new enemy Russia. Once successful Ukraine aimes to implement the Adros on not only its Mil Mi-24 and Mi-8 helicopters flown by the Army, but also by the Antonov AN-26 tactical airlifters of the Air Force.
During the conflict with the pro-Russian rebel and regular Russian military forces in the eastern part of the country, the Ukraine military lost many aircraft and helicopters last year due to ground-launched and shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles. The new decoy system is a small hope of improving the situation on the war front, so that the aviation components of the Ukrainian military can be used more effectively with less loss of aircraft and crew.
UPDATED 19 June | As always its the orders for airliners that fight for attention at the Paris Air Show, but on the military side, things are happening as well. Most interesting little fact was the apparent first export order – announced on Monday – for the Pakistan-made JF-17 Thunder, although no country was mentioned. Let’s not be surprised however when it turns out to be Myanmar.
Pakistan Air Force officials only described the country that soon may add the JF-17 to its military inventory, as ‘Asian’. The same officials reported that current turmoil in the Middle East has slowed down export talks. The JF-17’s development meanwhile continues, with a possible two seat version on the way.
On the slower spectrum, Mali and Ghana agreed to buy six and five A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft respectively, while Saudi Arabia signed for four Airbus C295W medium transport and patrol aircraft. Perhaps the most prominent deal was the purchase of four Boeing C-17s for the Qatar Emiri Air Force.
As far as helicopters are concerned, Malaysia placed an order with Airbus Helicopters for two AS365 Dauphins for SAR duties.
Unnoticed by many was the first sale for Aero Vodochody of its new L-39NG aircraft. More on that is here.
Dassault’s Rafale was the most numerous aircraft. Three Rafales were on the ground, while a fourth gave a flying display. In the trade halls, models of Rafales in the colours of Qatar, India and Egypt were seen. Given the recent orders from those countries, further Rafale sales are unlikely.
Also in the halls, Alenia Aermacchi was pitching its M-345 jet trainer. France is reportedly interested in this trainer aircraft. Elsewhere, Antonov was pitching its new An178 transporter. The Ukrainian company also announced the An188, a military transport aircraft in the A400M and Boeing C-17 category, powered by four turbofan engines.
The skies above Yeltsovka Airport (HA3) of the Novosibirsk Aviation Plant of Sukhoi saw the maiden flight of a new aircraft on 10 June 2015. Piloted by Siberian Research Institute of Aviation (SibNIA) director and test pilot Vladimir Barsu, a small single-engine bi-plane went into the blue yonder. The aircraft only called Light Multipurpose Aircraft for now was given is to replace the Ukrainian-made Antonov AN-2s in Russia, according to statement released by Sukhoi.
The new plane is partly constructed by carbon fiber parts and polymeric composite materials (PCM) and will be produced at the Novosibirsk aircraft plant. No planned number of aircraft have been announced though, but once the aircraft has been tested that could go into anything from 100 to several thousand of aircraft.
The carbon fiber elements are included in the wings and ribs of the biplane. More PCMs are to be put into the fuselage, while design and construction of the aircraft continues.
UPDATED 10 June | One week prior to the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, it’s clear that Pakistan stole everybody’s thunder by sending over three JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft. The aircraft left Pakistan for France on Sunday 7 June. Le Bourget kicks off on Monday 15 June, with other high lights being the Bombardier CSeries and a sizable delegation from both Boeing and – remarkably – Qatar Airways.
Update 10 June: Airbus has confirmed an Airbus A400M will take part in the flying display. The company says it has complete confidence in the aircraft
The JF-17 is a joint endeavour by Pakistan and China, both already operating significant numbers of the type, although the Chinese prefer to call it the JC-1. Several countries have shown interest in the type, Argentina reportedly being one of them. One JF-17 will be on static display at Le Bourget, while the other two will be used for a solo flying display.
Bombardier The Paris Air Show marks the debut of the Bombardier CS100 and CS300 airliners, both still in development and in need of customers. Swiss was officialy announced as launch customer for the CS100 earlier this year, with deliveries commencing no sooner than next year.
Boeing On the military side of things, Boeing will bring a CH-47F Chinook, P-8A Poseidon and F-15E to Paris. The no-show of the F/A-18 Super Hornet is noteworthy, as the type is rumoured to have drawn interest from Kuwait. Other sources mention Kuwait is now eyeing the Eurofighter Typhoon, however. The P-8A is a serious contender for the UK, with an order on the cards in the not too distant future. Boeing will also present a 787-900 Dreamliner in Vietnam Airlines colours, plus a China Airlines 777-300ER.
For the US, an A-10C Thunderbolt tank killer should also pay a visit to Le Bourget. The type is currently deployed in Europe and the focus of a Boeing-effort of selling used airframes to interested nations.
Closer to home, Airbus is dispatching a A350XWB and an A380 to Le Bourget. It is uncertain if the Airbus A400M will be present at all after the fatal crash on 9 May in Seville, Spain. Airbus Helicopters will show a lot of its portfolio during the show
Quite remarkable is the presence of Qatar Airways at Le Bourget with an Airbus A380, A350, A320, A319 and a 787 Dreamliner. The major delegation fits into the current aggressive Qatar Airways marketing in Europe, which many European airlines see as a major threath to their business. It is said the recent order for 24 Dassault Rafale aircraft has opened many French doors for Qatar – the door of the Paris Air Show apparently being one of those doors.