* The An-24 led to a specialized aerial survey variant, the "An-30", while the An-26 led to a more powerful derivative, the "An-32", both these machines proving successful, if not produced in the same quantities as their forerunners. In the 21st century, the Antonov organization is following up the An-24 with a next-generation equivalent, the "An-140". This chapter discussed the An-30, An-32, and An-140.
* From 1966, the Antonov organization performed work on a specialized aerial mapping variant of the An-24, originally designated the "An-24FK", with initial flight of a prototype on 21 August 1967. It featured a redesigned forward fuselage, with a raised cockpit to improve visibility and a bomber-style glazed nose for the navigator, plus a set of cameras mounted in the belly. The variant was accepted for series manufacture, with the first production "An-30", as it had been redesignated, being rolled out in 1971. One was displayed at the Paris Air Show in 1975, with the type then being assigned the goofy NATO reporting name "Clank".
The production An-30 featured AI-24VT engines as per the An-26, with each engine providing 2,100 kW (2,820 EHP), and was fitted with the RU19A-300 APU/booster. Various configurations of daylight and infrared cameras could be carried, shooting out windows in the belly of the aircraft that were covered by sliding doors when the cameras were not in use, with the doors protecting the windows from being cracked by rocks tossed up during takeoff or landing. Two operator workstations were fitted for controlling the photographic systems, as well as comfy seats for crew not busy at the moment, plus a food locker. The prototype had a full set of windows as per the An-24, but most of the side windows were deleted in the production An-32. The oversized forward right cargo loading door was retained, however, it being useful for getting gear in and out.
Access to the new glazed nose, nicknamed the "veranda", was through a cramped crawlspace. The glazed nose meant the elimination of radar, though a small Doppler groundspeed radar was fitted. The lack of a true radar was later seen as regrettable, and so some An-30s were fitted with a Groza-M30 radar in a fairing under the nose, with the rear of the fairing being part of the nose landing gear doors. In most other respects, the An-30 was similar to the An-24 and could even be fitted with the external stores racks, though it never was in practice.
ANTONOV AN-30: _____________________ _________________ _______________________ spec metric english _____________________ _________________ _______________________ wingspan 29.2 meters 95 feet 10 inches wing area 74.98 sq_meters 807.1 sq_feet length 24.26 meters 79 feet 7 inches height 8.32 meters 27 feet 4 inches empty weight 15,590 kilograms 34,370 pounds MTO weight 23,000 kilograms 50,700 pounds cruise speed 430 KPH 265 MPH / 230 KT service ceiling 8,300 meters 18,300 feet range 2,630 kilometers 1,635 MI / 1,420 NMI _____________________ _________________ _______________________
* A total of 65 An-30s was built for Aeroflot, with six more built for other Soviet civil organizations and 18 built for export. China was the biggest export user, obtaining at least seven machines. Other users included Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Mongolia, Romania, Vietnam, and reportedly a few African countries.
26 "An-30Bs" were built for the VVS, differing primarily from the civil An-30 in military avionics fit, including chaff-flare dispensers for self-defense. A handful of An-30Bs were used in the Afghan conflict to complement mainline military reconnaissance assets. Some military An-30Bs featured special reconnaissance equipment fits, including SLAR, TV cameras, and infrared line scanners, and there were also a few cases of civil An-30s being fitted with advanced surveillance gear for survey purposes. There were a number of specialized variants as well:
After the fall of the USSR, two An-30s were even converted into 20-seat "An-30-100" VIP transports -- a role in which the specialized features of the An-30 were absolutely irrelevant. This puzzling exercise was apparently performed simply because they were handy airframes that would otherwise have been mothballed or scrapped. A handful of An-30s were also used for test, trials, and research purposes, though details are scarce.BACK_TO_TOP
* In the mid-1970s, the Indian military issued a requirement for a new medium cargo aircraft. The An-26 generally fit the bill, but it lacked the needed performance, particularly under the "hot & high" conditions presented by the mountains of India's northern borders. However, Antonov OKB engineers felt that they could provide a solution by re-engining the An-26 with Ivchenko AI-20D turboprops, providing a whopping 3,865 kW (5,180 EHP) each -- 85% more than the AI-24VT engines used on the An-26. Power was not going to a problem with the new powerplants, and so the Indians were intrigued with the "An-32", as the proposal was designated.
An early-production An-26 was converted as the An-32 prototype, performing its first flight on 9 July 1976. The prototype was displayed at the Paris Air Show in 1977, with NATO assigning the type the reporting name "Cline". Two pre-production prototypes followed, with the An-32 going into production at the Kiev factory in 1980. The initial idea had been for Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to license-build the An-32 in India, but that scheme fell through.
* The An-32 featured the AI-20D turboprops mounted in nacelles that placed the engines above the wings, not forward of them as with the An-26. That was done partly because the AI-20Ds were substantially bigger, affecting the aircraft center of gravity, and partly because they used wider-span four-bladed props -- increased from 4.5 meters (14 feet 9 inches) in diameter to 4.7 meters (15 feet 5 inches) in diameter -- leading to a ground clearance problem. The increase in engine power and the repositioning of the engines of course had a series of "follow-on" effects that demanded a few other changes in the aircraft design:
In addition, although the An-26 used single-piece inboard flaps instead of the double slotted flaps originally used on the An-24, the An-32 was intended for "hot & high" operation, and so the fit of triple slotted flaps was seen as worthwhile. While the exhausts of the engines on the An-32 prototype had been initially positioned at midwing, they were later extended to behind the wing trailing edge, with production machines retaining this configuration. It is unclear why this change was made, but at the very least extending the exhausts eliminated the nasty streak of soot on the wing behind the engines found on the early prototype configuration. The prototype also initially featured a fixed slat on the bottom leading edge of the tailplanes that was supposed to help de-icing by altering airflow, but the decision was made that it was more bother than it was worth, and hot-air deicing was reinstated.
Improved avionics were fitted; the additional thrust provided by the RU19A-1900 APU/booster was no longer important, so the An-32 reverted to the TG-16 APU. Cargo-handling gear was like that of the AN-26, and the side observation dome with bombsight was retained as well, as was the capability of carrying external cargoes.
ANTONOV AN-32: _____________________ _________________ _______________________ spec metric english _____________________ _________________ _______________________ wingspan 29.2 meters 95 feet 10 inches wing area 74.98 sq_meters 807.1 sq_feet length 23.78 meters 78 feet height 8.75 meters 28 feet 9 inches empty weight 16,800 kilograms 37,040 pounds MTO weight 27,000 kilograms 59,525 pounds cruise speed 470 KPH 290 MPH / 255 KT service ceiling 9,500 meters 31,170 feet range (max fuel) 2,500 kilometers 1,555 MI / 1,350 NMI range (max load) 2,000 kilometers 1,245 MI / 1,070 NMI _____________________ _________________ _______________________
* The high-mounted engines of the An-32 gave the aircraft a distinctly "muscular" look, which was not deceiving: everybody who operated it was impressed by how much power it had, even under a full load and "hot & high" operating conditions. In 1985, to no surprise an An-32 set over a dozen altitude and performance records in its class -- one suspects it had an impressive rate of climb in unloaded configuration. The An-32 was also, as was the case with the best Soviet gear, very rugged and reliable.
A total of 214 was built for export up to 1994, with India being the biggest user at 123 aircraft, the first Indian An-32 being delivered in the summer of 1984. The Indians have been very fond of the An-32, contracting with Antonov in 2009 to upgrade 105 machines to the "An-32RE" configuration with modern avionics, a new oxygen system, and improved crew seats. 40 were upgraded in Ukraine, the rest domestically with Ukrainian assistance.
Afghanistan was the second-biggest An-32 user at 49 aircraft. There were about a dozen or so more users, including Angola, Bangladesh, Colombia, Croatia, Ethiopia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Swaziland, and possibly a few others. Users with high mountain terrain like Peru found the An-32 particularly useful. Two of the Mexican An-32s were apparently fitted with a quick-change equipment suite by the Heli-Dyne company of the US for operation in the maritime patrol role. There are also vague tales of a few An-32s operated by the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM).
The Soviet military had no particular interest in the unique capabilities of the An-32 until the very last days of the USSR, finally ordering a batch of almost 50 for special operations. Some of these machines were built with downrated AI-20M engines providing 3,170 kW (4,250 EHP), the maximum power of the AI-20D being seen as less attractive than extending engine life and lowering fuel consumption. The production of these machines overlapped the collapse of the Soviet Union and they never went into Russian service, instead being sold off on the export market.
However, from the late 1980s about three dozen civilianized "An-32A" machines -- very much like the baseline An-32, but with civil avionics -- were built for domestic civil organizations. They were followed in the mid-1990s by the "An-32B", which featured general small refinements, with about 40 built, mostly for domestic use -- though a few ended up in North Korean hands by a sneaky "back door" process. Six were sold to Iraq in 2009, with at least two of these machines altered to a bomber configuration, able to carry four Chinese-made 225-kilogram (500-pound) pounds. One featured a roll-off carrier in the cargo bay, dropping bombs out the cargo door, while another feature two stores pylons along each side of the fuselage. They have been used in attacks on Islamic State (IS) insurgents.
The Antonov organization has also designed a further improved "An-32B-100" cargolifter and "An-32V-200" tactical transport, with various updates such as fuselage reinforcements, new engines, and modernized avionics, it appears mostly for the export market.
There have been a few special conversions of the An-32. In the early 1990s, two were converted as demonstrators for an "An-32P" fire-fighting configuration, featuring a large tank for fire retardant mounted externally on each side of the lower fuselage, but though there was polite interest, nobody bought off on the concept. A few An-32 testbeds, including one to evaluate new eight-bladed "propfan" propellers, have been flown, and proposals have been offered for special variants such as a maritime patrol configuration.
In 2015, Antonov signed a deal with Taqnia Aeronautics Company of Saudi Arabia for co-production of a next-generation derivative of the An-32, the "An-132". Details were scarce, but it does appear that there will be some redesign of the airframe, possibly using composite materials, along with use of the latest avionics, including a "glass cockpit". It will also be powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150A turboprops, driving Hamilton Standard propellers, replacing the Ivchenko engines. Antonov has also signed a deal with Reliance Defence LTD of India to build a follow-on to the An-32, details being even more unclear.BACK_TO_TOP
* In 1993, the Antonov organization announced development of a successor to the An-24, the "An-140" -- a twin-turboprop machine with a general configuration like that of the An-24. The first An-140 prototype performed its initial flight on 17 September 1997, with a second prototype flying in 1998 and the first production machine flying on 11 October 1999.
The An-140 has a general configuration much like that of the An-24, to the extent that someone with no strong familiarity with aircraft might confuse the two. The An-140 is obviously a new design aircraft, however, sharing little with the An-24 but configuration, and also somewhat smaller. It is made mostly of aircraft aluminum, with some use of titanium. It has a high straight wing and swept tail surfaces of conventional arrangement -- though the tailplanes have a noticeable dihedral, not anhedral as with the An-24.
The An-140 is powered by twin Motor Sich AI-30 turboprops -- Klimov TVS-117VMA-SBM1 engines, license-built in the Ukraine -- driving six-bladed fully reversible "scimitar" props. A Motor Sich AI-9-3B APU is fitted in the extreme tail. The An-140 has tricycle landing gear, all gear with twin wheels, the steerable nose gear retracting forward, the main gear retracting into sponsons. There are no main gear doors, the wheels remaining visible after being retracted.
The An-140 has a flight crew of two, plus a cabin attendant; avionics are as normal for a commercial airliner, including a Buran A-140 weather radar in the nose. It has a traditional "analogue" cockpit layout, to reduce cost, though no doubt a glass cockpit could be a future option. The An-140 is pressurized and climate conditioned; it is typically arranged with 52 seats, with a fold-down airstair passenger door on the left rear fuselage, matched by a service door on the right rear fuselage, plus an emergency exit on the left front fuselage, matched by a large cargo loading door on the right front fuselage. It also features a galley, toilet, and coat closet in the rear. There are baggage compartments in the rear and under the forward floor. The forward floor is reinforced and the An-140 can be used in "combi" arrangements.
ANTONOV AN-140: _____________________ _________________ _______________________ spec metric english _____________________ _________________ _______________________ wingspan 24.5 meters 80 feet 4 inches wing area 74.98 sq_meters 807.1 sq_feet length 22.6 meters 74 feet 2 inches height 8.225 meters 27 feet empty weight 10,600 kilograms 22,375 pounds MTO weight 19,150 kilograms 43,220 pounds cruise speed 575 KPH 355 MPH / 310 KT service ceiling 9,500 meters 31,170 feet range 2,100 kilometers 1,305 MI / 1,135 NMI _____________________ _________________ _______________________
The baseline An-140 was replaced in production in 2003 by the "An-140-100", which features a 1-meter (39-inch) increase in wingspan, from 24.5 meters (80 feet 4 inches) to 25.5 meters (83 feet 8 inches) and maximum takeoff weight raised from 19,150 kilograms (43,220 pounds) to 21,500 kilograms (47,400 pounds).
* Several dozen An140s have been put into service. VIP, freighter, combi, and special mission configurations are on offer as well, along with variants featuring Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127A turboprops, though it is unclear if anyone has obtained them. The Russian Air Force has obtained a batch of An-140-100 machines with militarized avionics and ruggedizations, to replace the An-24; it seems plausible the service will also acquire the "An-142", an An-140 with a tail loading ramp, to replace the An-26, but that remains to be seen.
HESA of Iran obtained a license for construction of the An-140 at a plant in Esfahan, with the first "IrAn-140 Faraz" performing its initial flight in February 2001. Initial production was from Russian-supplied knockdown kits, but it appears that the Iranians are gradually phasing in assemblies built locally. It is unclear how many IrAn-140s have been built, but the aircraft is in service with Iranian airlines and the Iranian Air Force. Some IrAn-140 production will be to maritime patrol and tactical surveillance configurations.BACK_TO_TOP
* The following list summarizes the major variants of the An-24 family:
________________________________________________________________________ An-24 Initial civil airliner variant AKA "An-24A". An-24B An-24 with general improvements like 1-piece flaps. An-24V An-24B for export. An-24T Military cargolift variant with belly loading hatch. An-24VT An-24T cargolifter for export. An-24RT An-24T cargolifter with APU/booster unit. An-24RV An-24B airliner with APU/booster unit. An-26 An-24B-derived military cargolifter with tail ramp. An-26B Civilianized An-26. An-30 Survey platform based on An-24B for civil & export use. An-30B Militarized An-30. An-32 An-26B with more powerful engines for "hot & high" use. An-32A Civilianized An-32. Y7 Chinese An-24 production. MA-60 Y7 derivative with PW127J engines. Y7H Chinese An-26 production. ________________________________________________________________________
* As concerns copyrights and permissions for this document, all illustrations and images credited to me are public domain. I reserve all rights to my writings. However, if anyone does want to make use of my writings, just contact me, and we can chat about it. I'm lenient in giving permissions, usually on the basis of being properly credited.
* Sources include:
Several editions of JANE'S ALL THE WORLD AIRCRAFT were consulted for details, as well as manufacturer's press releases.
* Revision history:
v1.0.0 / 01 mar 10 v1.1.0 / 01 feb 12 / Added An-140, Split into two chapters. v1.1.1 / 01 jan 13 / Review & polish. v1.1.2 / 01 nov 14 / Review & polish. v1.1.3 / 01 oct 16 / Review & polish.BACK_TO_TOP