Ukrainian aircraft manufacturing and services firm Antonov has successfully completed the maiden flight of the new short-range medium-airlift transport aircraft, An-178.

The maiden flight of the first An-178 prototype, which was rolled out in Kyiv in April this year, took place out of Kiev-Antonov Airport in Ukraine. The aircraft performed a one-hour flight test with the support of a crew of Antonov test pilots.

Both civil and military configurations of the new aircraft will be available. The An-178 is expected to replace ageing aircraft such as Antonov An-12, Antonov An-26 and Antonov An-32.

The new An-178 is based on the An-158 aircraft. Its airframe is constructed with aluminium alloys and composite materials and the base platform of the AN-178 can be developed into a number of civil and military variants.

"The maiden flight of the first An-178 prototype took place out of Kiev-Antonov Airport in Ukraine."

It will be capable of carrying 99 soldiers, 80 paratroops and will be able evacuate 70 sick and wounded persons.

Moreover, it can be deployed to conduct a range of missions, including logistic support of troops, parachute drooping of cargos at platforms or small troop divisions, carrying of injured personnel, and transportation of light vehicles.

Meanwhile, Antonov announced that the company received orders from Silk Way Airlines, a cargo airline from Azerbaijan, and a customer in China for ten and two An-178 aircraft, respectively, Ain Online reported.