A brand new Ukrainian-built Antonov plane, taking off for the first time. The iconic Antonov aircraft manufacturer tested its new multipurpose model AN-132D on 31 March. A delegation of top officials from Saudi Arabia, Ukraine’s main partner in the plane’s development, were in attendance.
Antonov’s new AN-132D is built to carry up to almost 10 tons, fly at a maximum cruise speed of 550 km/h and can be used for air dropping medical supplies, equipment, and military service personnel as well as a variety of other transport needs. Most of the plane’s components are Ukrainian, with other supplies from the USA, France, Germany, and Canada.
Notably, this is the first model without a single Russian detail – an achievement for Ukraine, where the aerospace and defense industries are highly interconnected with Russia from Soviet times. The turboprop engines were purchased from the Canadian company Pratt & Whitney, propellers – from the British Dowty Propellers. In addition, avionics and the power supply system on the aircraft was provided by the US company Honeywell, and air preparation system came from the German Liebherr.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko spoke at the event:
“The partnership with our Saudi friends is especially important in conditions of broken cooperation ties with the country-aggressor Russia. I also want to emphasize that the program to create the AN-132D is a truly international project. The creation of this multi-purpose transport aircraft involved the leading enterprises of aircraft in the world. Companies from the US, the UK, France, Germany and many others”.
Antonov officials hope that the Ukrainian-made plane’s unique features will allow it to be used all around the world.
Oleksandr Khokhlov, the AN-132D plane program director:
“We designed this plane on the clients’ needs. It must be competitive in price, easy to operate and maintain. It is able to operate on prepared landing strips and high-altitude airfields. This is very important for our potential markets, particularly in India and Latin America.”
Of course, Antonov’s world record-breaking AN-225 Mriya remains the trademark plane of the Ukrainian company. But it’s hoped more Antonov will continue developing more models in the future with the label – Made in Ukraine!