Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Antonov 70

The Antonov-70 is a next generation medium range military transport, which has been developed in Russia and Ukraine. It’s designed to carry large loads efficiently over long distances at a fairly high cruise speed. It can carry almost any tank or equipment in the Russian military fleet along with 170 troops in a pressurized cabin. The back opens up to allow para drop. It carries up to 47 tones of cargo, which is about 103 620 lbs, up to 1350 km. The engines are rated at roughly 14000 HP, making the AN-70 one of the most powerful prop driven aircraft ever built. The props are advanced swept scimitar shaped and reversible. They are designed for higher speeds approaching that of turbofan powered aircraft. But they provide the good fuel economy and lower speed and climb performance that propellers have to offer. T The propfan engine has been developed and experimented by NASA, GE, Pratt and Whitney, and others in the late 1980s. It was to be a powerplant that could be more efficient than turbofans of the day and they have shown to save a lot of fuel and be able to fly at jet like speeds. Its basically a gas turbine powerplant driving propellers that are designed for higher speeds, a high speed turboprop. Shorter and more swept blades than a regular propeller, to deal with transonic, compressibility and shock wave effects. Higher bypass ratio than a regular turbofan, and without a duct. More blades than a regular propeller. Contra-rotating blades provide an efficiency advantage at higher speeds, despite the higher weight and complexity penalty because of the transmission. One disadvantage of propfan engines is that they are of fairly noisy. The airlines didn't pursue the Antonov 70 because of its noise pollution and other economic or reasons. First flight was in 1994. A prototype model crashed in 1995 and that caused setbacks. Economic and political reasons also caused more setbacks. But nonetheless, it was an outstanding aircraft. Apparently the project is supposed to be completed and brought into production by perhaps this year. The airplane uses composite materials in its construction. The AN-70 definitely brings many advantages to the table in combat operations.