A Chinese company is set to purchase the largest aircraft constructed by Ukrainian holding company Antonov, similar to the AN-225. Russian military expert Vasily Kashin discussed with Sputnik the importance of this purchase for both countries.
“On August 30, Antonov [Company] and Aerospace Industry Corporation of China (AICC) signed an agreement on cooperation on the AN-225 project,” Antonov’s press service said in a statement, UNIAN news agency reported.
“The deal fits into a conventional model of China acquiring technologies for military use and for Ukraine it’s a deal with a small import-export intermediary firm. AICC should not be confused with the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) which is a giant in the Chinese aviation industry,” the expert explained.
Currently, there is only one AN-225 in existence, built in 1988. It belongs to Antonov holding and is used for commercial shipping of especially large cargo. The second airplane is 70% completed.
Kashin also said that the AN-225’s engines were earlier made by the Ukrainian company called Motor Sich. But now it has been several decades since the construction of the first airplane was completed. How quickly can they resume full-scale production is extremely dubious.
On Wednesday, Antonov refused to make any comments on the deal and said that it will publish additional information about the negotiations with the Chinese company later, after its delegation returns from Beijing.
It is known that the Chinese are extensively working on space technologies and launch vehicles. They are collaborating on creating various space shuttles and space planes. Construction of large transport aircraft with 6 engines is also underway.
The Chinese aviation industry has a long history of cooperation with Antonov holding. The Ukrainian company has played an important role in modernization of the Chinese Y-8 transport aircraft, Y-9 medium transport aircraft and Y-20 heavy transport aircraft.
However, today the production and design capabilities of Antonov, have deteriorated to such an extent that its main assets are Soviet technical files. According to Kashin, the assets are losing value over time, thus, a deal with China is of utmost necessity for the Ukrainian company.