31 December 2014
A pathway to Europe
The last delivery of AN-74 has occurred back in 2000: it was AN-74TK-100 owned by GazpromAvia registry number RA-74016. It was one of 120 airplanes delivered to Russia (the total number of aircraft produced was 195 of AN-72 / AN-74 by January 2015). Although 75% of materials and vendor items (account positions) and about 45% of elements were purchased from Russian producers, the unique AN-72 / AN-74 airplanes were not delivered to either Ukraine or Russia anymore. AN-74 achieved remarkable technical characteristics thanks to these technologies, yet hey are increasingly outdated. AN-74 and its modifications could re-orient on European and the U.S. suppliers that produce a wide range of cutting-edge aviation equipment. This would allow to move to European production standards and ensure a successful involvement of AN-74 in various tenders conducted in the United States and the European Union.
Every position is the key
Calls of the past
Back in the Soviet period, the dominant approach was that of autarky, namely that all components should be produced by domestic enterprises, which guaranteed technological independence of the state. The position had numerous flaws, as nobody in the world could have access to all cutting-edge scientific designs in every area. AN-74 was one of such projects – the designer had think about every detail (except for the engine). The development process was taking a lot of time, while the product could grow increasingly costly and outdated. Changing to European and American producers could cut the number of separately purchased vendor items (from 277 to 40-50) thanks to the delivery of completely arranged systems from specialised firms. An approximate value of such a transfer (including certification and a range of design works) for AN-74 is around 50 million USD within two years.
These are incomparable positions in terms of their cost but they have one common feature: the airplane will not fly without any of these elements. Therefore, a particular attention has been paid to cutting the number of vendor items in the concept of purchasing Western-produced equipment for AN-74. This could be achieved through the involvement of complex engineering firms that deliver complete flight systems with a full guarantee in the production cooperation regarding AN-74. Such an approach may seriously accelerate the time of designing of AN-74 and, consequently, its new modifications.