On Friday afternoon, the very first example of the Antonov AN-132D took the skies in Ukraine, making it’s maiden flight out of Svyatoshyn Airport in Kiev. The aircraft is produced by Antonov State Company, a Ukraine-based company that specializes in producing special-purpose and large transport aircraft aimed towards customers in Eastern Europe and the ex-Soviet states of Asia.
Watch the first flight:
The Antonov AN-132D is a modernized version of the Antonov AN-32 aircraft, a twin-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. The new example, the AN-132, is a joint project between King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) of Saudi Arabia and Antonov Design Bureau of Ukraine.
The AN-132 will have very similar stats to the AN-32, with capacity for 9,200 kg of cargo, 75 troops, and 27 stretchers for military purpose. The aircraft is 24.53 meters long and boasts an impressive 29.2 meter wingspan being powered on 2x Pratt & Whitney PW150A turboprops, producing 3,781 kW each. The PW150A is the exact same engine equipped on all Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 aircraft flying worldwide. With a range of 4,400 km, a cruise speed of 550 km/h, and a 30,000 ft. service ceiling, this aircraft is even more powerful and capable than its predecessor.
The aircraft is intended to specialize in hot climate and mountain terrains owning a high thrust-weight ratio, allowing this example to be the most versatile masterpiece Antonov has ever been a part of.
The cockpit of this beast will encompass a state-of-the-art U.S. made navigation system, which will allow pilots to efficiently operate the aircraft in adverse conditions, a commonplace in eastern Europe.
The AN-132 will be produced at a factory in Saudi Arabia, which was constructed under a mutual agreement between Taqnia (Saudi Arabia), the Ukrainian Scientific Institute of Aviation Technology (UkrNIIAT), Altis Holding (Ukraine), and Broetje-Automation (Germany), all of which are pitching in money to produce the plant.
Antonov predicts a market for the example to reach 300 airframes, with six examples already on order from the Royal Saudi Arabian Air Force. Recipients are expected to be carriers worldwide, but specifically companies’ who currently possess the obsolete AN-32 version. The AN-32 has many operators, including the Bangladeshi Air Force, Colombian Air Force, Croatian Air Force, Indian Air Force, Mexican Air Force, Iraqi Air Force, among others. The oldest examples of the type are reaching 45 years old, which is incredibly rusty for aircraft nowadays.