AN-74 Fuel Tanker concept

27 December 2014

The Viking Returns

Снимок экрана 2014-12-09 в 18.51.28

Since from April 2014, the repair works of the 91st C-3 Viking airplane started. The modification of C-3 Viking called KS-3A still can be used as a fuel tanker required by the U.S. Maritime Forces. KS-3A (weight of fuel in external tanks amounts to 5.961 kg + 1.851 kg) can refuel a range of airplanes, as well as helicopters and tiltrotor airplane Bell V-22 Osprey.

Midas and the Bear

In December 2014, Russia flexed its muscles on the Norwegian border when IL-78 (“Midas” in NATO classification) refuelled TU-95MS strategic bomber nicknamed “The Bear”.

Fuel on call

Conventional wisdom states that fuel tanker is a large and clumsy airplane that helps much more manoeuvrable jets. Boeing KS-135 Stratotanker, Lockheed HC-130 or IL-78 «Midas» are all good  examples of such big planes. It is logical if we consider long-range strategic aviation. But what about fuelling fighter jets and helicopters during a local military conflict? A large fuel tanker airplane would be a comfortable target for the enemy and the entire refuelling could jeopardise the lives of aircraft crews.  It could be different if the tanker is a mobile airplane, which can perform various aerobatic manoeuvres and dodge missiles. AN-74 is precisely such type of an aircraft; its flight characteristics have been tested by years of use and military experience. Opportunity to add wing pylons to install different weapons allows to integrate the Aerial refuelling system. External fuel tanks in the cargo section of AN-74 (3.000 kg / 3.690 litres) will increase total volumes of fuel that can fill another aircraft tank up to 16.210 kg (19.940 litres).

How to save millions

Аn-74T-200A became the foundation for the concept of AN-74 Fuel Tanker. The seat of a navigator pilot in the cockpit should be replaced by the control panel for the pilot responsible for aerial refuelling (the outline of the cockpit panel – click to see the picture in higher resolution). 

Thus, the engineering expenses could be significantly reduced. The Aerial refuelling system COBHAM 908E (UK) is a state-of-art technology that complies with the highest safety standards for civil airplanes. This system allows precise coordination between the operator and the flight crew. As a result, refuelling will take place in shortest terms, which is essential particularly in the conflict zone.

New opportunities for the flying SUV

  AN-74 Fuel  Tanker has a unique selling point – it is easy to convert in order to fulfil different purposes. The aircraft can be turned into a tactical tanker for aerial refuelling, or int traditional logistics aircraft with payload of up to 10 tons and the maximum taking off weight of 36.5 tons. The approximate value of transforming АN-74Т-200А in Fuel Tanker (without accounting for engineering works and the  price of serial production) is around 2-3 million USD.


Antonov An-74 Fuel Tanker MAIN

🔳 2014



Print version

© Pavel Naumenko / Library and Information Science Resources 2014