Crew for An-70 military transport plane to be trained in Russia
The crew members for the new An-70 military transport aircraft, jointly developed by Russia and Ukraine, will be trained in Russia, the commander of transport aviation said on Monday.
"Since the production of the aircraft is planned to take place in Russia, it is logical that the crew will undergo the theoretical and practical training here," Lt. Gen. Viktor Kachalkin said.
Russia's transport aviation commander said the crew and engineering staff would at first be trained at the aircraft production plants then at airfields.
Kachalkin also said the first An-70s will be delivered to the Tverskaya airbase, near Moscow.
The estimated date for the first shipment of one or two aircraft is 2014.
There are up to 300 transport aircraft in service with the Russian Air Force, including An-12 (NATO reporting name Cub), An-72 (Coaler) and An-124 Ruslan (Condor) strategic heavy airlift transport aircraft.
The An-70 is a medium-range turboprop military transport plane developed by Ukraine's Antonov design bureau. The Antonov company first tested a flying prototype of the An-70 in 1994, but a lack of Ukrainian state funds, and political disputes between Moscow and Kiev have prevented large-scale production of the aircraft.
The recent thaw in Russian-Ukrainian relations saw Moscow renew long-stalled funding to Ukraine for eventual joint production of the airplane.
The An-70 is intended to replace An-12 and Ilyushin Il-76 (Candid) aircraft currently in service.
Russian Airborne Troops Commander Lt. Gen. Vladimir Shamanov said last week that his service had ordered 40 An-70 aircraft under the new state arms procurement program for 2011-2020.