Antonov has formally announced the launch of its new An-132 military transport aircraft program jointly produced by Ukraine and Saudi Arabia.
Antonov announced the signing of a contract for co-development and co-production by Antonov’s chief designer, Dmitry Kiva, and Turki Bin Saud Bin Mohammed Al-Saud, chairman of Taqnia Aeronautics and president of the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology on May 6 this year.
The contract followed months of negotiations after initial talks between Antonov and the Saudi side had begun in 2013. An “initial payment of $150 million”, with an initial plan for the production of eight aircraft was discussed.
As per the agreement, there will be technology transfer and Saudi participation with the Saudis owning the intellectual property and engineering designs for the aircraft.
The aircraft is a derivative of the existing An-32 Cline.
“The new aircraft will feature a glass cockpit and a Honeywell navigation system, along with equipment from US and UK suppliers which includes General Electric and Liebherr. The new aircraft resembles the original An-32, with an identical empennage, wing and cabin, and with the same characteristic ventral fins flanking the rear-loading ramp,” Arabian Aerospace website (Arabian aerospace.aero) reported today.
The new An-132 was originally aimed at meeting a possible Indian Air Force requirement for 56 light transport aircraft to replace its ageing Avros, as India’s HS-748s are still known. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has meant that the new Antonov is no longer in contention for this requirement, however. Instead, initial production will be to meet a specific Saudi requirement, though Antonov says that it has identified a global market for 900 aircraft, primarily as a replacement for the original An-32 and the older An-26, both of which are high-wing, twin-turboprop tactical transports with rear loading ramps, the report said.
The first of up to three prototype An-132s will be rolled out at the end of 2016 and will then be followed by series production aircraft from 2017 or 2018, with an initial annual build rate of 8-12 aircraft. The An-132 is being marketed to potential customers in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and South America, in both the military and civilian sectors.