Antonov is going to flight-test a cheaper version of the venerable An-2 biplane by the end of this year. For several years the An-2 conversion with an Omsk TVD-20M 1,400hp (1,044kW) turboprop, known as the An-3, has been produced in small quantities at a ballistic missile factory in Omsk, Russia, and successfully operated in the harsh environments of Siberia and Russia's extreme north. But the variant has proven too expensive for local operators.
To cut costs, Ukraine's Motor-Sich has developed a cheaper engine, the AI-14-X, which is now undergoing bench testing. Antonov president and general designer Dmitry Kiva discussed the details at the MAKS air show in Moscow.
In addition to the engine change, Antonov has simplified documentation for conversion work, to allow airlines turn their An-2s into An-3s at maintenance stations of their own.