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Antonov, Saudi Arabia to co-produce An-132

_In September 2015, Kiev-based airframer Antonov launched the construction of its first flying prototype of the advanced An-132 light transport aircraft - a heavily upgraded version of the in-service An-32. The manufacturer is going to make the plane in cooperation with Saudi Arabia. Antonov and Saudi company Taqnia Aeronautics signed an agreement to that effect on 6 May 2015.


The An-32 had been in production in Kiev from 1983 to 1998. Afterwards, about two dozen aircraft have been assembled from the manufacturing backlog available. In all, 385 An-32s have been built in Kiev, of which 118 have been exported to India.

The An-132 will be powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150A turboprops with a takeoff power of 5,070 hp each (they power the Bombardier Q400 regional airliner). The PW150A is much lighter and more efficient than the An-32-powering Ukrainian-made AI-20D (5,180 hp). In addition, the aircraft will get an advanced wing centre section with integral fuel tanks and an advanced avionics suite that will cause a modification to the fuselage nose section and flight deck. Avionics from General Electric, Honeywell, Liebherr and Hamilton Sundstrand and a number of Ukrainian manufacturers as well is to equip the aircraft.

The An-132's maximum takeoff weight will stand at 28.5 t, while its carrying capacity will grow from the current 7.5 t to 9.2 t. Its maximum speed will increase to 550 km/h over the An-32's 530 km/h, and the range with 6 t of cargo up to 3,320 km over today's 1,650 km. With a maximum payload of 9.2 t, the plane will be able to fly at a distance of 1,400 km with a 45-minutes fuel reserve.

The An-132 will carry 71 infantrymen or 46 paratroops, or 27 casualties on stretchers as well as various combat gear and cargo with a total weight of 9.2 t. Antonov also offers the An-132's maritime patrol, search and rescue (SAR) and medevac versions and a firefighting variant (An-132P) as well.

The intellectual property rights for the An-132 are supposed to be split between the Ukrainian and Saudi companies, with the full-scale production to be launched by Taqnia Aeronautics in Saudi Arabia. Antonov Designer General Dmitry Kiva estimates the An-132 market at 100 units at least. African nations are expected to show special interest in the aircraft.

Early in autumn this year, Antonov Director General Mikhail Gvozdev said that the first An-132 was to kick off its flight tests before year-end 2016.

Published in Take-off magazine, November 2015.

(Photo: Andrey Fomin)

 
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