IAI Arava

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Arava
Arava Hatzerim 050804.jpg
IAI Arava at the Israeli Air Force Museum
Role Transport
Manufacturer Israeli Aircraft Industries
First flight 27 November 1969
Introduction 1973 Paris Airshow
Status Active
Primary users Israeli Air Force
14 other militaries
Produced 1972–1988
Number built 103
Unit cost
$450,000 (U.S.) in 1971

The Israeli Aircraft Industries Arava is a light STOL utility transport aircraft built in Israel by IAI in the late 1960s.

The Arava was IAI's first major aircraft design to enter production. It was intended both for the military and civil market, but the aircraft was only built in relatively small numbers. The customers were found mainly in third world countries, especially in Central and South America as well as Swaziland and Thailand.

The design work on the Arava began in 1965, and the design objectives included STOL performance, the ability to operate from rough strips and carry 20 passengers or bulky payloads.[1] To achieve this, the Arava design was of a relatively unusual configuration.

Arava 201 of the El Salvador Air Force displayed at the 1975 Paris Air Show prior to delivery

The Arava's fuselage was barrel-like, short but wide, and the rear of the fuselage was hinged and could swing open for easy loading and unloading. Its wing span was long and the twin tails were mounted on booms that ran from the engine nacelles. It was fitted with a fixed nosewheel undercarriage to save weight, while the chosen powerplant was two 715 eshp (533 kW) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-27 turboprops.[2]

The first prototype Arava made its maiden flight on November 27, 1969. The second prototype was destroyed when a wing strut experienced flutter and failed during flight testing on November 19, 1970.[3] The third prototype flew for the first time on May 8, 1971.[3][4] Three planes were commandeered for use by Squadron 122 in the Yom Kippur War,[5][6] but were returned afterwards. The Israeli Air Force did not purchase the plane until 1983, when nine planes were bought.[5] Production ended in 1988. 103 aircraft were produced,[5] including 70 for the military market. The IAF decided in 2004 to retire the plane.[5] It is still in operation in some countries.

Variants[edit]

  • IAI 101 - civil-transport version
  • IAI 102 - civil passenger aircraft for up to 20 people in airline-standard configuration or up to 12 passengers in VIP configuration
  • IAI 102B - civil transport version
  • IAI 201 - military transport version
  • IAI 202 - modified, longer version with modified wings

The military version could also be equipped with a range of weapons, in order to act in anti-submarine- or gunship roles. The weapon configuration could include two machine guns in fuselage side packs (usually 0.5" Browning), plus a third gun on the rear fuselage, and two pods containing 6 x 82 mm rocket pods or torpedoes or sonar buoys on the fuselage sides.

Another less known military version is the 202B Electronic warfare model. This vesrion was made in small numbers, and had distinct large radomes at the front and back ends of the main body. The radomes contained the Electronic warfare mission systems.

Operators[edit]

IAI Arava operators
 Argentina
 Bolivia
 Cameroon
 Colombia
 Ecuador
 El Salvador
 Guatemala
 Haiti
 Honduras
 Israel
 Liberia
 Mexico
 Nicaragua
 Papua New Guinea
 Swaziland
 Thailand
 Venezuela

Specifications (IAI 201)[edit]

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1982-83[9]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Capacity:
    • 24 fully equipped troops or
    • 16 paratroopers
  • Payload: 2,351 kg (5,184 lb)
  • Length: 12.69 m (41 ft 6 in)
  • Wingspan: 20.96 m (68 ft 9 in)
  • Height: 5.21 m (17 ft 1 in)
  • Wing area: 43.68 m² (470.2 ft2)
  • Empty weight: 3,999 kg (8,816 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 6,804 kg (15,000 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34 turboprops, 559 kW (750 shp) each

Performance

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cohen 1974, p. 57.
  2. ^ Cohen 1974, pp. 57, 59.
  3. ^ a b Cohen 1974, p. 59.
  4. ^ Air Progress: 22. October 1971. 
  5. ^ a b c d IAI-201 Arava
  6. ^ "122 Squadron - The Dakota". Globalsecurity.org. 
  7. ^ http://www.airliners.net/photo/Colombia---Air/Israel-Aircraft-Industries/2295435/&sid=404fafa14ce7953d257e26136204ec00
  8. ^ http://www.webinfomil.com/2011/05/iai-arava-201.html
  9. ^ Taylor 1982, pp. 123–124.