The Dowty Propellers-equipped Antonov AN-132D is building up its flight test hours, validating this aircraft’s capabilities as a light multi-purpose transport for a full range of missions.
Prior arriving in France for last week’s Paris Air Show, the AN-132D demonstrator logged more than 55 hours aloft from its March 31 maiden flight through to June 15. These evaluations were performed from Antonov’s headquarters in Kiev, Ukraine.
During its first public appearance, the aircraft attracted significant attention on the Paris Air Show’s display line at Le Bourget Airport, and was put through its paces for an international audience of aerospace professionals twice during the week-long event’s flight presentations.
The AN-132 programme is a joint effort of Antonov and two Saudi Arabian partners: The King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST); and the Taqnia Aeronautics Company.
During a planeside press conference with reporters, the role of Dowty Propellers and other western suppliers were cited as a key to the AN-132D demonstrator aircraft rapid development. “The long history and expertise of Dowty Propellers is one of the reasons we were able to progress from the starting point to the AN-132D’s rollout in 1.5 years,” said Antonov Company Vice President Alexander V. Los.
Dowty Propellers’ support for the AN-132D is recognised by Antonov
He acknowledged Dowty Propellers’ proactive support, which included assisting in the R408 propeller system’s integration and commissioning on the aircraft, and providing training for personnel from both Antonov and KACST. Dowty Propellers is continuing its technical support during the AN-132D’s flight test phase, as well as for the aircraft’s upcoming demonstration flights.
Incorporating six all-composite blades with advanced swept design that provides excellent climb and cruise performance, the R408 propeller system already has accumulated millions of flight hours on the Bombardier Q400 Dash 8 regional airliner.
Los added that the performance of Dowty Propellers’ R408 propeller system – and the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150A turboprop engines they equip – will provide the AN-132 with excellent performance characteristics, including operations from short runways, unpaved airfields and high-altitude airports.
“This aircraft also is very economical at a good cruise speed, which we confirmed with an efficient fuel consumption during the flight from Kiev to Le Bourget,” Los added.
The AN-132 continues Antonov’s heritage in producing light transport aircraft, with this new version coming as a follow-on to its AN-26 (with 1,400 manufactured) and the AN-32 (more than 360 produced).
“We have retained the cabin cross-section of our AN-32 and AN-26, which has proven to be right-sized for many types of applications, while the rest of the aircraft is modernised and improved in performance,” Los said. “The takeoff weight has been increased to 31.5 tons, bringing the maximum payload to 9.2 tons.”
Oleksandr A.Kotsiuba, President of the Antonov Company President, told reporters at the Paris Air Show that significant interest has been shown in the AN-132 by potential customers, with applications including transport flights, search and rescue, medical evacuation, aerial firefighting, airlift for disaster relief and special missions.