Ukrainian Antonov company, along with the Taqnia Aeronautics company from Saudi Arabia, have concluded a memorandum, pertaining production of An-132 airframes in Saudi Arabia, along with provision of sales and operational support for the An-148 and An-178 aircraft. The said document was signed in presence of Prince Turki Bin Mohammed Bin Nasser Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Saudi Deputy Minister of Defence.
Conclusion of the said memorandum had a purpose of defining the division of works and competences, pertaining the production process related to the An-132 aircraft which is going to be manufactured by Saudi Arabia, in collaboration with the Ukrainian Antonov facility which, until the end of this year, is going to create the first prototype of the new airlifter.
The An-132, which is a modernized variant of the An-32 cargo plane, is to have a doubled range. It is also going to have better capabilities when it comes to the carried payload, while the airframe is designed in a way which provides the aircraft with STOL capabilities, so important when the missions require to carry out unprepared runway operations. Production is going to take place at the Taqnia Aeronautics facility in Saudi Arabia, which is an element of the diversification plan for profit of the country, realized by the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) facility.
The An-132 aircraft is going to be propelled by Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150 engines, with six-bladed Dowty Propellers Company R408 propellers. The fully digital avionics system is going to be delivered by Honeywell, while the life support system is to be provided by the Liebherr company. The airframe has been designed with a wide application of modern alloys and composite materials.
Estimated performance parameters include cruise speeds of 550 kilometres per hour and ceiling of 9 thousand meters. The range, with maximum payload of 9.2 tonnes, is to be close to 1270 kilometres, while the maximum ferry range is defined as 4400 kilometres.
Cargo bay has a length of 13.45 meters (16.6 meters with the ramp), and it is 2.4 meters wide, it is capable of holding up a cargo with a volume of 58 cubic meters. According to the plans made by the manufacturer, the aircraft shall be capable of carrying e.g. two Panhard VBL armoured vehicles, 75 troops, 46 fully equipped paratroops or 27 wounded soldiers on stretchers along with two paramedics. The cargo bay is going to be fitted with a rear ramp and embedded lifting device, making it easier to load heavy cargo on-board, in combat conditions.
Specialized variants of the An-132 airframe are also expected to be developed, including electronic warfare, patrol and maritime or ASW versions. Saudi Armed Forces and State Services are to be among the first users of the aircraft. Not only did the customers from the Middle East express their interest in the Antonov’s design, since those from Far East and South America also submitted their inquiries about the new air-lifter. This is a result of a wide application of the An-32 aircraft in those regions. An-132 is a direct successor of this airframe, and its operational properties are similar to those of its predecessor.