The Antonov An-72 (NATO reporting name: Coaler) is a Soviet/Ukrainian transport aircraft, developed by Antonov. It was designed as an STOL transport and intended as a replacement for the Antonov An-26, but variants have found success as commercial freighters.
|A Russian Air Force An-72 on short final in to Chkalovsky Airport|
|National origin||Soviet Union/Ukraine|
|First flight||31 August 1977|
|Primary users||Russian Air Force|
|Number built||195 (An-72 & An-74)|
|Developed into||Antonov An-71|
Design and developmentEdit
The An-72 first flew on 22 December 1977. Produced in tandem with the An-72, the An-74 variant adds the ability to operate in harsh weather conditions in polar regions, because it can be fitted with wheel-skis landing gear, de-icing equipment, and a number of other upgrades, allowing the aircraft to support operations in Arctic or Antarctic environments. Other An-72 versions include the An-72S VIP transport and An-72P maritime patrol aircraft.
Its first flight was made on 31 August 1977, but production started in the late 1980s. The powerplant used is the Lotarev D-36 turbofan engine. The An-72 resembles the unsuccessful Boeing YC-14, a prototype design from the early 1970s (design submitted to the United States Air Force in February 1972,) which had also used overwing engines and the Coandă effect.
The rear fuselage of the aircraft has a hinged loading ramp with a rear fairing that slides backwards and up to clear the opening. Up to 7.5 tonnes (7.4 long tons; 8.3 short tons) can be airdropped while it has folding side seats for 52 passengers.
In 2018, six An-72 aircraft were reported to be upgraded for the Russian Aerospace Forces and Navy to carry more fuel and payload for Arctic operations.
The An-72 has STOL capabilities; its take-off roll is 620 m (2,000 ft) and its landing run is 420 m (1,400 ft). This aircraft was designed to be used on unprepared surfaces; its robust undercarriage and high-flotation tyres allow operations on sand, grass, or other unpaved surfaces.
- An-71 "Madcap": Prototype AWACS aircraft developed from the An-72.
- An-72 "Coaler-A": Preproduction aircraft. Two flying prototypes, one static test airframe and eight preproduction machines.
- An-72A "Coaler-C": Initial production STOL transport with a longer fuselage and increased wingspan.
- An-72AT – "Coaler-C": Freight version of the An-72A compatible with standard international shipping containers.
- An-72S – "Coaler-C": Executive VIP transport fitted with a galley in a front cabin, work and rest areas in a central cabin, and 24 armchairs in a rear cabin, can also be reconfigured for transporting freight or 38 passengers or as an air ambulance carrying eight stretchers.
- An-72P: Patrol aircraft. Armed with one 23 millimetres (0.91 in) GSh-23L cannon plus bombs and/or rockets.
- An-72R (also known as An-72BR): Prototype electronic intelligence (ELINT) aircraft, with conformal antenna fairings running up each side of the fuselage. Known as 'Aircraft 88' during development and erroneously known as An-88.
- An-72-100: Demilitarized An-72.
- An-72-100D: Demilitarized An-72S.
- An-74: Arctic/Antarctic support model with room for five crew, increased fuel capacity, larger radar in bulged nose radome, improved navigation equipment, better de-icing equipment, and can be fitted with wheel-skis landing gear.
In August 2006, in total, 51 An-72 and Antonov An-74 aircraft were in airline service. The major operators include Badr Airlines (three), and Shar Ink (eight). Some 17 other airlines operate fewer of the type.
As of December 2021, 45 aircraft are in military service:
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
Former military operatorsEdit
Accidents and incidentsEdit
- 17 September 1991 — CCCP-74002 attempted to take off from Lensk Airport overloaded with fish. All 13 human occupants died when it crashed 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from the airport.
- 10 February 1995 — An Antonov An-72 chase plane had a mid-air collision while following the Antonov An-70 prototype aircraft during a test flight. The collision caused the An-70 to crash into a forested area, killing all seven An-70 crew members. The An-72 lost a right wing flap, but it was able to return to base safely.
- 22 December 1997 — ER-ACF, an Antonov An-72 disappeared on a cargo flight from Port Bouet Airport, Côte d'Ivoire to Rundu Airport, Namibia. The aircraft and its five crew members disappeared without a trace over the South Atlantic. The cause of the incident remains undetermined.
- 23 April 2006 — UR-74038 carrying food aid to Chad from Libya crashed in Cameroon, killing all 6 crew.
- 27 November 2006 — An Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Air Force An-72 crashed after takeoff from Mehrabad International Airport in Tehran, killing 37 of the 38 aboard.
- 25 December 2012 — An An-72 carrying Kazakhstani border patrol officials crashed in Shymkent, killing all 27 people on board.
- 10 October 2019 — An An-72 operated for the DRC Air Force with 4 crew and 4 passengers crashed in Congo; none survived.
Data from The Osprey Encyclopædia of Russian Aircraft 1875–1995
- Crew: five
- Capacity: up to 52 passengers or 10 tonnes of cargo
- Length: 28.07 m (92 ft 1 in)
- Wingspan: 31.89 m (104 ft 7.5 in)
- Height: 8.65 m (28 ft 4.5 in)
- Wing area: 98.62 m2 (1,062 sq ft)
- Empty weight: 19,050 kg (42,000 lb)
- Gross weight: 34,500 kg (76,058 lb)
- Maximum speed: 700 km/h (435 mph, 378 kn)
- Range: 4,325 km (2,688 mi, 2,336 nmi)
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era
- Antonov Company [@AntonovCompany] (2018-08-31). "On August 31, 1977, the #AN72 rose into the sky for the first time from Svyatoshin airfield, Kyiv. AN-72 is the first jet of the #Antonov aircraft family. The maiden flight was performed by the crew consisting of V. Terskyo, captain, S. Gorbik, co-pilor" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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- Toh, Mavis (2012-12-26). "An-72 crashes in Kazakhstan, killing 27". Flightglobal. Singapore. Archived from the original on 2012-12-30.
- "Military plane carrying 27 crashes in Kazakhstan". Agence France-Presse. 2012-12-25. Archived from the original on 2012-12-28. Retrieved 2012-12-25.
- "An-72 crash site located in Democratic Republic of Congo". TASS. Moscow. 2019-10-11. Archived from the original on 2022-05-27. Retrieved 2022-05-27.
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- An-72/An-74 Family (Data for An-72A & List of all known An-72/An-74 Family variants )
- An-74 Pictures
- AN-74TK-300 modification at Antonov's site
- AN-74T modification at Antonov's site
- AN-74T-200A INFO
- AN-74TK-300D INFO
- "An-71, O.K.Antonov 'Madcap'". Russian Aviation Museum. 1999-06-18. Archived from the original on 2017-12-01.
- An-71 Article, Images
- An-71 Specs at globalsecurity.org