First flight for An-132D

Antonov has completed the maiden flight of its new An-132D multi-role turboprop transport. The aircraft took to the air last Friday, March 31, from the company’s airfield in Kiev, Ukraine.

The first prototype of the short- to medium-haul aircraft flew for 1 hour and 50 minutes in the hands of Antonov test pilot Victor Goncharov, accompanied by Saudi test pilot General Mohammed Ayash of  Taqnia Aeronautics. The co-pilot was Antonov’s Bohdan Zagoruyko, while Volodymyr Nesterenko was on board as flight engineer. The aircraft was ‘chased’ by one of the company’s An-178 jet transports.

Development of the An-132 is being conducted as a joint project with two Saudi Arabian companies, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and Taqnia Aeronautics.

According to Oleksandr Kotsiuba, president of Antonov, the programme will now work towards presenting the An-132D demonstrator in Saudi Arabia.

Antonov formally rolled out the first prototype An-132D in a ceremony at its Kiev production facility last December 20.

One of the first customers will be the Saudi Ministry of Defence, which signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Taqnia and Antonov at the Dubai Airshow on November 12, 2015, for an initial acquisition of six An-132s. Four of these will be transport versions, reportedly configured for search and rescue operations, while the remaining two will be specialised electronic warfare variants.

Series production will be carried out by Taqnia and KACST in Saudi Arabia. First deliveries are planned before the end of the year.