Ukraine’s state-owned Antonov aircraft company has signed a contract at Paris air show to construct an airplane factory in Saudi Arabia for producing the new AN-132 light transport aircraft, RT News reported Wednesday.
Antonov will participate in the design and construction of the plant along with partners Taqnia of Saudi Arabia, the Ukrainian Scientific Research Institute of Aviation Technologies, Altis Holding of Ukraine, and Broetje−Automation of Germany.
The AN−132, which will be first aircraft produced at a new aviation complex in Saudi Arabia, can carry 9 tons of cargo on short and medium routes. The aircraft is intended to replace aircraft similar to the obsolete AN-32 and AN-26 aircraft.
In April, Antonov and Saudi state-owned King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) agreed to produce a modernized version of Antonov's AN-32 military transport aircraft. The AN−132 prototype will be ready in eighteen months, the director of the KACST Space and Aeronautics Research Institute Dr. Khaled A.Alhussan said.
In May 2015, Antonov was transferred from Ukraine’s Ministry of Economic Development and Trade to the Ukrainian Defense Industry (Ukroboronprom). The new head of the enterprise Mikhail Gvozdev has taken the responsibility to re-establish the company as a major airplane manufacturer.