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An-70 military transport plane crew to train in Russia

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An-70 military transport aircraft

MOSCOW (BNS): Russia will impart training to crew members of the new An-70 military transport plane jointly developed with Ukraine, a RIA Novosti report said.

Commander of transport aviation Lt. Gen. Viktor Kachalkin said it was logical that the crew undergo the theoretical and practical training here as production of the aircraft will take place in Russia.

The crew and engineering staff would at first be trained at the aircraft production plants then at airfields, he was quoted as saying.

The first shipment of one or two An-70s aircraft is expected to be delivered by 2014. The aircraft will replace An-12 and Ilyushin Il-76 (Candid) aircraft currently in service with the Russian Air Force.

The Russian Air Force has 300 transport aircraft in service including An-12 (NATO reporting name Cub), An-72 (Coaler) and An-124 Ruslan (Condor) strategic heavy airlift transport aircraft.

The An-70, developed by Ukraine's Antonov design bureau, is a medium-range turboprop military transport plane. The first prototype of the An-70 was tested in 1994, but a lack of Ukrainian state funds, and political disputes between Moscow and Kiev prevented large-scale production of the aircraft.

Moscow has now renewed long-stalled funding to Ukraine for eventual joint production of the airplane after the recent thaw in Russian-Ukrainian relations. Under the new state arms procurement program for 2011-2020, Russian Airborne Troops Commander Lt. Gen. Vladimir Shamanov said his service has ordered 40 An-70 aircraft, the report said.

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