Antonov’s new multipurpose AN−132D took to the skies for its maiden flight last week from the company’s airfield in Kyiv, Ukraine. The new aircraft flew for 1 hour and 50 minutes in the hands of a crew from Ukraine and Saudi Arabia. The AN−132 is being developed in cooperation with King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and the Тaqnia Aeronautics Company, both based in Saudi Arabia.
The AN−132D multipurpose turboprop aircraft is intended for operation on short and medium−haul routes. The new aircraft will perform a variety of tasks, such as the transportation bulk cargo and vehicles weighing up to 9.2 tonnes. The aircraft is also suited for para drops.
The next important step will be the presentation of the AN−132D in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which will be conducted after the completion of more aircraft tests, according to Antonov. After last week’s flight, the Center of King Abdulaziz City Science and Technology, emphasised the importance of the project to Saudi Arabia.
Antonov and Saudi Arabia have signed an agreement on starting An-132 cargo aircraft production in Saudi Arabia, Antonov reports in a press release dated 21 February. A manufacturing complex will be established in Saudi Arabia by Saudi company Taqnia Aeronautics, which will also provice support for other Antonov products.
Saudi Arabia will start production of its own version of the Antonov AN-32 cargo aircraft / military airlifter, called the AN-132, both for military and civilian purposes. Sources in Kiev and Riyadh confirmed that a deal has been made.
Ukrainian Antonov will transfer the necessary technology and design property rights to the Kingdom, where Taqnia Aeronautics and King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology will jointly produce the AN-132 from 2017 or 2018 on and forward.
Compared to Antonov’s own AN-32 the Taqnia/KACST AN-132 will feature Pratt & Whitney Canada aircraft engines, a Honeywell navigation suite and several other Western made avionics and components. Antonov is likely to send Ukrainian specialists to Saudi Arabia until the Kingdom is up to speed with things.
Some sources say during the first year of full production eight to twelve aircraft are planned, but we at Airheadsfly.com consider it quite likely that Taqnia/KACST will put together one to three prototypes first.