It’s the same, but different. Although the Antonov An-148 and its stretched -158 derivative have graced Le Bourget’s skies and concrete on previous occasions, the aircraft set to make its Western debut at the Paris Air Show this week differs subtly but significantly, with a rear loading ramp and military-style gray camouflage.

Antonov (Hall 1/Stand H294) flew the prototype An-178 as recently as May 7, the aircraft having arrived for static display with a total of only 40 hr. of airborne time.

When announced in February 2010 with its design already underway, first flight was predicted in 2013. The aircraft’s stated role was as a replacement for the turboprop An-26 and An-32. The wing outer panels (including winglets), front fuselage with cockpit and nosewheel leg come from the An-158. The cargo hold is slightly enlarged, and there is an extra pair of mainwheels on each side.

Antonov says the 18-ton payload can include all existing types of packaged freight (both containerized and palletized), including 2.44 x 2.44−meter 1C high-capacity sea containers. This makes the aircraft an effective transport for logistics support and emergency situations.

In the best Antonov traditions, the An-178 can operate from any runway, including those with artificial pavement, unpaved airfields and alpine airdromes. Typical military payloads include three HWMMV vehicles, 99 troops and 80 paratroops; or 40 liters plus 30 walking wounded.

The cargo hold is 16.65 meters (54 ft. 7½ in.) long, including ramp, or 12.85 meters (42 ft., 2 in.) excluding ramp; 2.745 meters (9 ft.) wide at the floor and 2.75 meters (9 ft. 0¼ in.) high. The floor area is 40 sq. meters (431 sq. ft.); volume 125 sq. meters (4,414 sq. ft.), both including ramp.

With maximum payload, its range is 540 nm (1,000 km), increasing to 2,970 nm (5,500 km) with 5 tons (11,023 lb).

Antonov predicts sales of up to 1,100 An-178s by 2035.