State enterprise Antonov (Kyiv) has completed the large scale assembly of a new multipurpose An-132D aircraft with a load capacity of 9.2 tonnes being built in the framework of a contract with Saudi Arabia signed in April 2015, the press service of the enterprise has said.
"A tail unit has been installed on the aircraft. Thus, a fuselage, a wing and a tail unit have been assembled. We expect the supply of PW150A engines for the airplane by Pratt & Whitney Canada in April. A cooperation agreement with the Canadian company under the An-132 program was signed in October 2015," the plant said.
The prototype of a new AN-132 is to be completed by the end of 2016. After performing a series of test flights, the aircraft will be presented to potential customers in Saudi Arabia.
In parallel with the building of a demonstration copy of the aircraft, an agreement was achieved and a contract was signed with Taqnia Aeronautics at the AFED-2016 international aviation exhibition in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) in February, which is determined by the Saudi side as a manufacturing and marketing partner for the organization of a cooperative serial production of new transport An-132 aircraft.
Meanwhile, no doubt this will be causing some twitching in Moscow.
Ukraine has launched an aggressive effort to manage multiple overloaded armaments and weaponry that New Delhi acquired during the Soviet era and which have become a liability for the Indian defense forces, military news portal Defense News reported on Thursday. A Ukrainian governmental delegation and over a dozen defense companies showcasing new programs are now at Defexpo, Defense News wrote.
"We are here now [in] India for the long term to manage Soviet-era headaches, which India cannot manage alone," said Perto Fedoruk, chief adviser to Ukraine's largest defense industry consortium, Ukroboronprom. "For nearly a decade Russia has forcefully blocked our entry," Fedoruk said. "We have offered multiple solutions to give new life to Soviet-era weaponry [with Indian defense forces], as we are the original equipment manufacturer," he said.
According to a Ukrainian diplomat, "India cannot resolve the headaches of overloaded Soviet-era platforms without Ukraine." "India has now permitted us to participate in defense programs independently, and we are offering a new solution to manage and refit the Soviet-era aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov [renamed as INS Vikramaditya], which is 50% cheaper than the Russian offer," said Mykola Gordienko, head of Ukroboronprom naval projects.
The Indian Navy is evaluating a proposal by Ukraine for overhaul and maintenance of gas turbines used in Delhi-class warships and the carrier Admiral Gorshkov.
The Ukroboronprom deputy director general of strategy, Artur Kheruvymov, said India plans to organize a "joint military technical commission for providing service support for Soviet-era weaponry." "In addition, the two countries are also planning to form joint ventures in India for upgrading and overhaul and manufacture of spares for Soviet-built air defense systems, including the Kvadrat, OSA-AKM Strela-1, Tunguska, Shilka, portable IGLA and Strela-2 systems," Kheruvymov said.
Ukraine is doing more than $100 million in annual defense business with India, and aims to increase it to $500 million in the next three years, he said.
Over 700 defense contracts related to the delivery of spares, repair and upgrade valued at over $2 billion were signed and completed in the last 10 years. "We have now managed to make a breakthrough," according to the Ukrainian diplomat, who added: “India has now decided to buy [the] electronic support measure system used to detect and track stealth aircraft and Vympel R-27 medium-range air-to-air missiles from us instead of from Russia."
Ukraine has also offered to collaborate with India's Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) to jointly develop multiple rocket launcher systems with a range of 100 kilometers — similar to Russian Grad systems. "In addition, we will also be developing a variety of new electronic warfare systems with DRDO and a partnership has been sealed recently," Fedoruk said.
Ukroboronprom is also sealing a partnership with state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) to indigenize Russian T-90 main battle tanks and set up a facility to manufacture spares in India.
Ukraine has also entered into a partnership with state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics for supply of crucial spares for Russian Sukhoi aircraft.