The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense has signed a memorandum with Antonov State Enterprise to procure An-178 medium transport aircraft to meet the requirements of the armed forces.

The initial order comprises three aircraft, which will be delivered to the army. The order also represents Ukraine’s first such procurement since the country gained independence in 1991.

The An-178 medium transport aircraft will be used to transport personnel, weapons and light military equipment.

Additionally, the aircraft can be used for delivering material assets as well as in emergency situations such as evacuating civilians from disaster areas and airdropping of paratroop rescue teams.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy said: “These new aircraft will be built by Ukrainian citizens, from Ukrainian components, for Ukrainian interests.”

He further added: “It strengthens Ukraine’s defence capabilities and helps attract Ukrainian and foreign investments.”

According to Antonov website, the An-178 medium transport aircraft has a range of around 3,680km with 10 tonnes of cargo. The maximum payload of the aircraft is 18 tonnes.

Equipped with D-436-148FM jet engines, the AN-178 was designed based on earlier versions and its airframe and on-board equipment are 50-60% unified with the AN-148 and AN-158 aircraft.

It features a cargo door and a ramp in the tail section used for on-boarding and de-boarding personnel, weaponry and light military vehicles.

The AN-178 airplane can operate on unpaved runways and those with artificial pavement.

Earlier this year, Ukraine hosted the Exercise Rapid Trident 20, a multinational training exercise.