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Antonov

 

Antonov

Antonov State Company
Native name Державне підприємство "Антонов"
Type State-owned company
Industry Aerospace and defence
Founded Novosibirsk, USSR (May 31, 1946 (1946-05-31))
Headquarters Kiev, Ukraine
Key people
  • Oleg Antonov, first chief/prominent designer
  • Dmitry Kiva, chief
Products
  • Aircraft of various applications
  • Aircraft maintenance
  • Cargo air transport
Employees 12,000
Divisions
Website .comantonov

Antonov State Company (Ukrainian: Державне підприємство "Антонов"), formerly the Antonov Aeronautical Scientific-Technical Complex (Antonov ASTC) (Ukrainian: Авіаційний науково-технічний комплекс імені Антонова, АНТК ім. Антонова), and earlier the Antonov Design Bureau, is a Ukrainian aircraft manufacturing and services company. Antonov's particular expertise is in the fields of very large aeroplanes and aeroplanes using unprepared runways. Antonov (model prefix An-) has built a total of approximately 22,000 aircraft, and thousands of planes are currently operating in the former Soviet Union and in developing countries.[1]

Antonov StC is a state-owned commercial company. Its headquarters and main industrial ground are located in and adjacent to Kiev.[2]

History

Soviet era

Foundation and relocation

Antonov An-2, mass-produced Soviet utility aeroplane.

The company was established in 1946 in Novosibirsk as a top-secret Soviet Research and Design Bureau No. 153, headed by Oleg Antonov and specialised in turboprop military transport aircraft. The An-2 biplane is a major achievement of this period with hundreds of aircraft still operated as of 2013.[3] In 1952, the Bureau was relocated to Kiev, a city with rich aviation history where aircraft-manufacturing infrastructure was being restored after the World War II destruction.

First serial aircraft and expansion

An-12, Cold War-era tactical transport, in flight.
47-year-old An-12 still in operational condition in 2011.

In 1957, the bureau successfully introduced the An-10/An-12 family of mid-range turboprop aeroplanes into mass production (thousands of aircraft were manufactured). The model have been seeing heavy combat and civil use around the globe to the present day, most notably in the Vietnam War, Soviet war in Afghanistan and the Chernobyl disaster relief megaoperation.

In 1959, the bureau began construction of the separate Flight Testing and Improvement Base in suburban Hostomel (now the Antonov Airport).

In 1965, the Antonov An-22 heavy military transport enters serial production, supplementing the An-12 in major military and humanitarian airlifts of the Soviet Union. The model became the first Soviet wide-body aircraft and remains the world's largest turboprop-powered aircraft to date. Antonov designed and presented a nuclear-powered version of the An-22 which, however, never entered flight testing phase.

In 1966, after major expansion in the Sviatoshyn neighbourhood of the city, the company was renamed to another disguise name "Kiev Mechanical Plant". Two independent aircraft production and repair facilities, under engineering supervision of the Antonov Bureau, also appeared in Kiev during this period.

Prominence and Antonov's retirement

Antonov An-24, the Soviet Union's most common regional airliner.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, the company established itself as USSR's main designer of military transport aircraft with dozens of new modifications in development and production. After Oleg Antonov's death in 1984, the company is officially renamed as the Research and Design Bureau named after O.K. Antonov (Russian: Опытно-конструкторское бюро имени О.К. Антонова) while continuing the use of "Kiev Mechanical Plant" alias for some purposes.

Late Soviet-era: superlarge projects and first commercialisation

An-225 is the largest operating aircraft in the world.

In the late 1980s, the Antonov Bureau achieved global prominence after introduction of its extra large aeroplanes. The An-124 "Ruslan" (1982) became Soviet Union's serial-produced strategic airlifter. The Bureau enlarged the "Ruslan" design even more for the Soviet space shuttle programme logistics, creating the An-225 "Mriya" in 1989. "Mriya" has since been the world's largest and heaviest aeroplane.

End of the Cold War and perestroyka allowed the Antonov's first step to commercialisation and foreign expansion. In 1989, the Antonov Airlines subsidiary was created for its own aircraft maintenance and cargo projects.

Independent Ukraine

Antonov Design Bureau remained a state-owned company after Ukraine achieved its independence in 1991 and is since regarded as a strategic national asset. On 18 April 2014, the company issued a statement protesting the removal of its president Dmytro Kiva by the Ukranian government.[4]

Decreased military orders

Expansion to free market

Rollout of the first serially-produced An-148 at Antonov's hangar in Kiev, 2009. An An-124 under maintenance seen in the far corner of the hangar.

Since independence, Antonov is busy with certifying and marketing of its models (both Soviet-era and newly developed) to free commercial aeroplanes' markets. New models introduced to serial production and delivered to customers include the Antonov An-140, Antonov An-148 and Antonov An-158 regional airliners.

Among several modernisation projects, Antonov received orders for upgrading "hundreds" of its legendary An-2 utility planes still in operation in Azerbaijan, Cuba and Russia to the An-2-100 upgrade version.[3]

Production facilities' consolidation

During the Soviet period, not all Antonov-designed aircraft were manufactured by the company itself. This was a result of Soviet industrial strategy that split military production between different regions of the USSR to minimise potential war loss risks. As a result, Antonov aeroplanes are often assembled by the specialist contract manufacturers.

In 2009, the once-independent "Aviant" aeroplane-assembling plant in Kyiv became part of the Antonov State Company, facilitating a full serial manufacturing cycle of the company. However, the old tradition of co-manufacturing with contractors is continued, both with Soviet-time partners and with new licensees like Iran's HESA.[5]

Products and activities

Fields of commercial activity of Antonov ASTC include:

Aircraft

Antonov's aeroplanes (design office prefix An) range from the rugged An-2 biplane (which itself is comparatively large for a biplane) through the An-28 reconnaissance aircraft to the massive An-124 Ruslan and An-225 Mriya strategic airlifters (the latter being the world's heaviest aircraft with only one currently in service). Whilst less famous, the An-24, An-26, An-30 and An-32 family of twin turboprop, high winged, passenger/cargo/troop transport aircraft are important for domestic/short-haul air services particularly in parts of the world once led by communist governments. The An-72/An-74 series of small jetliners is slowly replacing that fleet, and a larger An-70 freighter is under certification.

The Antonov An-148 is a new regional airliner of twin-turbofan configuration. Over 150 aircraft have been ordered since 2007. A stretched version is in development, the An-158 (from 60–70 to 90–100 passengers).

Gliders

Antonov A-15 in Czech markings

Major contractors and partners

Contract and licensee manufacturers

See also


References

  1. ^ About the Company
  2. ^ Contacts." Retrieved on 5 February 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Россия заказала у Антонова усовершенствованные кукурузники.  
  4. ^ "RESOLUTION of the ANTONOV Company collective’s joint meeting" Antonov, 18 April 2014. Accessed: 21 April 2014.
  5. ^ a b ANTONOV history
  6. ^ Правительство задумалось о "Воздушном старте".  
  7. ^ "Antonov Ground Transport". Retrieved 10 January 2009. 
  8. ^ http://www.airliners.net/search/photo.search?q=An-74TK-300

Further reading

  • MacFarquhar, Neil. "Aviation Giant Is Nearly Grounded in Ukraine." The New York Times. October 12, 2014. Corrected on October 12, 2014.

External links

  • Antonov ASTC
  • Antonov (Russian)
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