UKROBORONPROM in 2017: aviation cluster development

2017 became a year of Ukroboronprom aviation cluster, and during this year for the first time, without any exaggeration, two aircraft hit the sky – on 31 March 2017 An-132D made its first maiden flight, and on 8 November – combat UAV Gorlytsa.

On 31 March 2017 Antonov An-132D made its maiden flight – the first Ukrainian aircraft, manufactured using advanced avionics from world leading companies from the USA, Canada, the UK, Germany, France and other countries, namely Honeywell, Pratt&Whitney Canada, Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse SAS, Dowty Propellers. This aircraft became the first Ukrainian plane without any Russian component.

It is important to note, that Antonov An-132D was designed in an extremely short terms according to the world aviation standards. The program started in May 2015 when the agreement with Taqnia Aeronautics, Saudi Arabia, was signed. In other words it took only 1.5 years to create a new aircraft.

Successful completion of the international program An-132 kicked off new joined projects for Ukrainian airframers with foreign companies.

For example, in the context of international cooperation, it was agreed to upgrade military transport Antonov An-70 which will receive new avionics and no Russian components.

An intention to take part in aircraft upgrade was announced during the exhibition Dubai Airshow 2017 by the companies from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Turkey. Due to this cooperation it is planned to enhance the unique characteristics of the aircraft with the advanced digital systems.

Taking into account that in 2015 Antonov An-70 was taken into service by Armed forces of Ukraine, upgrade of this aircraft is one most important task which will allow to significantly enhance mobility and military efficiency of Ukrainian defenders.

On 8 November 2017, a prototype of a new tactic UAV Gorlytsa designed by Antonov company, made its maiden flight.

Gorlytsa is the first Ukrainian platform which according to its payload is able to bear impact load. Currently, similar vehicles are manufactured only in several countries, such as the USA, Israel, Italy, France, China and Turkey. However, development of similar complexes usually requires multi million funding and approximately 5 years. At the same time, development of Gorlitsa is funded by State Enterprise “Antonov”.

The UAV was developed to assist Ground Forces of Armed Forces of Ukraine during day and night reconnaissance in any weather conditions and data link to command post. To compare with other UAVs, this vehicles can conduct aerial reconnaissance for longer period of time – not less than 7 hours and has velocity up to 230 kmph. Tactical operational range is 120 km, the practical range is 1 050 km.

Gorlitsa can conduct optic-electronic aerial reconnaissance of perceptible and infrared range. It automatically detects, acquires and follows moving objects and positions guided high precision weapon. With the assistance of UAV, it is possible to maintain the operational communication as well was support combat units that complete the mission in tactical depth of the enemy.

It is worth to mention, that during 2017 similar agreements were gained with leading defence companies from other NATO countries, including USA.

As an example, the agreements was reached between SE “Plant 410 Civil Aviation”, which is a member of Ukroboronprom, and American corporation Rockwell Collins, which specializes in manufacturing and design of digital and electronic aviation systems.