An AN-32 aircraft of the Indian Air Force

An AN-32 aircraft of the Indian Air Force

Saudi hub to build Antonov aircraft

01 June 2015

Saudi Arabia has announced it will build Antonov aircraft in King Adulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST).

It follows a technology alliance between Ukraine’s Antonov and KACST for developing and manufacturing AN-32s as an advanced multi-purpose aircraft. Saudi Aviation Technology Company was part of the agreement which aims at transfer of aircraft manufacturing technology and acquiring expertise from international aviation manufacturing giants to train Saudis in aviation technology and sciences, said Dr Turki Bin Saud, president of KACST.

Present at a press conference at KACST headquarters to announce the agreement were Antonov chief Dmitry Kiva, Saudi Aviation Technology Company chief executive Major General Ali Al-Ghamdi and other senior officials at KACST headquarters.

Dr Turki said Saudi Arabia will have all engineering designing and intellectual property rights of the new model of the aircraft, which is expected to operate experimentally in the kingdom within one and a half years from now.

The fuel-saving light aircraft, which could be used for civilian and military purposes, is ideal for short domestic trips. It has the capability for landing and takeoff in different environments. 

Kiva said Antonov decided to manufacture AN-32 aircraft after carrying out studies about the kingdom’s needs for light transport planes for civilian and military purposes.

The AN-32 is re-engined from the AN-26 and designed to withstand adverse weather conditions better than the standard AN-26. The high placement of the engine nacelles above the wing allow for larger diameter propellers, which are driven by 5,100 hp-rated AI-20 turboprop engines, providing almost twice the power of the AN-26’s AI-24 powerplants.

The AN-32 has excellent takeoff characteristics under tropical and mountainous conditions, including hot climates (up to + 55°C) and from high-elevation airfields (up to 4,500 m height) where hot or thin air reduces a powerplant’s performance. With this capability, the aircraft is suited to be a multipurpose aircraft with medium tactical military transport roles as well as being used in civil commercial flying.

Operating as cargo transport over the short and medium range air routes, the AN-32 is able to air-drop cargo platforms on pallets. The aircraft has also been used as a passenger-only aircraft, ambulance variant, firefighter and for sky-diving or paratroop roles.

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