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    Iran plans to use An-140 planes to patrol borders

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    Iran will need an additional 20 An-140 turboprop aircraft to ensure effective patrols of its national borders, Iran's aircraft industry official said on Wednesday.

    KISH ISLAND (Iran), October 29 (RIA Novosti) - Iran will need an additional 20 An-140 turboprop aircraft to ensure effective patrols of its national borders, Iran's aircraft industry official said on Wednesday.

    The Iranian HESA company has so far produced five An-140 passenger planes at a facility in Esfahan under license (as IRAN-140) and eight other aircraft are being assembled by Iranian specialists trained in Russia and Ukraine.

    "The presidential administration has demanded that we produce 20 additional An-140 planes for the border guard service. Overall we will need up to 100 An-140 aircraft in various modifications over the next 8-9 years," the head of HESA, Mohammad Ali-Zade, said at the 4th Iran Air Show 2008 on Kish Island in the Persian Gulf.

    The An-140 is a short-range turboprop airliner, developed by Russia's Antonov design bureau as a replacement for the An-24 series aircraft. It can carry up to 52 passengers or can be used as a patrol or military transport aircraft.

    Russia's Antonov aircraft manufacturing company and Ilyushin Finance aircraft leasing company are promoting a new Russian-Ukrainian An-148 regional medium-haul passenger jet at the Iranian air show.

    "The next step is talks and future licensed production of the An-148 plane which we are showcasing at the air show and will show to the Iranian leadership," Antonov's general director Dmitry Kiva said.

    "Iran has already expressed interest in purchasing and setting up licensed production of this aircraft in broad cooperation with the Ukrainian and Russian companies," he added.

    Iranian officials stated, though, that the [An-148] negotiations had just started and the outcome would depend on the competitiveness of the Ukrainian-Russian plane on the Iranian market.

    In its basic modification, the An-148 is designed to carry 70-90 passengers up to 5,000 kilometers. It costs an estimated $20 million to produce, which is cheaper than Sukhoi's Superjet 100 (around $28 million).

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