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New An-148s for governmental customers

an-148_gozOn 18 October 2014 another An-148-100E (c/n 43-01, side number 61724) made for the Russian Defence Ministry took off for its first flight from the airfield of the VASO aircraft plant in the city of Voronezh (VASO is a subsidiary of the United Aircraft Corporation). It is the fifth An-148 to be accepted by the Russian Air Force.

The UAC - Russian Defence Ministry governmental order for 15 An-148-100Es between 2013 and 2017 was made in May 2013. The first plane under the deal (RA-61718) in the standard 68-seat passenger variant was delivered in December 2013. At the same time the manufacturer rolled-out the second Defence Ministry-ordered aircraft (RA-61721) ahead of schedule. The aircraft was delivered on 11 July 2014. This year, VASO is going to manufacture a total of four An-148s for the Russian military. The first of them (RA-61722) flew in March and the next one (RA-61723) in July. Both have entered service by now.

Federal Security Service of Russia became another government customer for Voronezh-built An-148s. According to the official governmental acquisition website (, the United Aircraft Corporation and Federal Security Service made a governmental contract for three An-148-100EA airliners on 24 April 2014 based on the outcome of a tender. Under the tender's terms published at the website, two planes are to have the 49-seat two-class layout, while the third one is to have a 35-seat three-class layout. The former two aircraft are to be delivered prior to late December 2014 and late March 2015 respectively, with the third one before late 2015.

The An-148-100EAs are to be made by UAC's subsidiary VASO in Voronezh, with UAC and VASO having signed a contract to this effect on 19 May 2014.

Owing to the deal, VASO has finally found a buyer for the two An-148-100Es (side numbers 61707 and 61712) with the 'English-language' cockpits, sitting idly at its plant. The planes were built for the Myanmar Defence Ministry in 2010-2011. However, the customer was in no rush to collect its planes. The delivery of the two An-148s to Myanmar had been in suspense for a long time, until a final solution was made to terminate the contract. Seeking after new customers for aircraft 61707 and 61712, the manufacturer had kept them in store. At last, their fate has been sealed.

Prior to delivery to the Federal Security Service, the aircraft will be given relevant improvements resulting in the 49-seat two-class passenger cabin and will be tailored to the requirements specification issued by the customer. One of the planes is to enter operation before year-end, with the other to follow suit three months later.

The third aircraft with a 35-seat three-class cabin will have been made by VASO from scratch before end of next year.

After receiving the three planes, the air branch of Federal Security Service will have a fleet of four An-148s. As is known, the first An-148-100EA (RA-61719) designed for the service was made by VASO last year under the contract dated 29 April 2013. It has a three-class 39-seat layout ('key passenger' cabin with two seats and a sofa, business class with 12 seats and economy class with 25 seats) and is generally similar to the two An-148-100EAs ordered by the Presidential Property Management Department and delivered to the Rossiya special air detachment during 2012-2013. The plane conducted its maiden flight on 30 November 2013 and was accepted by the customer on 23 January 2014. On the next day, the aircraft departed for the Moscow's Vnukovo airport, where it has been based side by side with other aircraft of the type in service with Rossiya special air detachment.

An-148 deliveries to governmental customers make up the mainstay of VASO's An-148 production programme. The first two contracts - for a pair of An-148-100EM convertible passenger/medevac planes for the Russian Emergencies Ministry and two An-148-100EAs with the separate comfortable main cabin and a total of 39 seats, including 12 in business class and 25 in economy class, for the Rossiya special air detachment - were awarded in 2010-2011. The first An-148-100EA (RA-61716) was made and delivered to the customer in late 2012. The contracts were fulfilled last year, with the presidential air detachment having received its second An-148-100EA (RA-61720) and the Emergencies Ministry's air arm its both An-148-100EM convertibles (RA-61715, RA-61717). The former are based in Vnukovo and the latter in Ramenskoye, all being operated pretty heavily in accordance with their purpose.

(Photo: Aleksey Filatov)

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