The Ukrainian Defense Ministry and the Antonov State Enterprise have signed a memorandum of cooperation on the construction of aircraft for the needs of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the Ukrainian president's press service has reported.
According to the report, the signing ceremony took place at the Antonov State Enterprise with the participation of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
At the first stage, the Ukrainian Armed Forces will receive three new An-178 military transport aircraft. They can be used for the delivery of personnel, weapons and light military vehicles, as well as for the transportation of goods.
Zelensky noted that many international partners are showing considerable interest in the Antonov aircraft, particularly military transport models.
"They always ask me whether these planes are already in service in Ukraine. That is why this step is doubly important. It strengthens Ukraine's defense capabilities and will help attract Ukrainian and foreign investment," he said.
Zelensky also stressed that in the future such government orders should be the norm, so he expects a full-fledged comprehensive plan from Antonov's management to restore and strengthen the company's staff potential, return lost professionals and attract new specialists.
The president proposed that state customers continue working on new contracts for the production of An-178s from next year and that the government to work on the establishment in 2021 of a Ukrainian airline that will use Antonov aircraft.
In addition, Zelensky announced the idea of developing a state scientific and technical program for the development of the aviation industry for 2021-2030 and holding a respective meeting of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine.