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|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|
Ukrainian Air Force
|Number built||195 (An-72 & An-74)|
|Developed into||Antonov An-71|
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.
Design and development
The An-72 first flew in 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..
An unusual design feature of the An-72 is the use of the Coandă effect to improve STOL performance, utilizing engine exhaust gases blown over the wing's upper surface to boost lift. The first flight was made on 31 August 1977, but it was only in the 1980s that production started. The powerplant used is the Lotarev D-36 turbofan engine. The An-72 bears a resemblance to the Boeing YC-14, a prototype design from the early 1970s (design submitted to the 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 tons[clarification needed] can be airdropped while there are folding side seats for 52 passengers.
Russian Aerospace Forces and Navy are upgrading six An-72 aircraft for Arctic operations.
The An-72 has STOL capabilities: its takeoff roll is 620 metres (2,030 ft) and its landing run is 420 metres (1,380 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-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 mm GSh-23L cannon plus bombs and/or rockets.
- 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, a total of 51 An-72 and Antonov An-74 aircraft were in airline service. Major operators include Badr Airlines (three), and Shar Ink (eight). Some 17 other airlines operate smaller numbers of the type.
As of December 2018, 42 aircraft are in military service:
Former military operators
- Moldovan Air Force: Two
- Peruvian Air Force – two (operated until late 1990s and sold to civilian market)
Accidents and incidents
- On 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.
- On 25 December 2012, an An-72 carrying Kazakhstani border patrol officials crashed in Shymkent, killing all 27 people on board.
Data from The Osprey Encyclopaedia 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 8 in)
- Height: 8.65 m (28 ft 5 in)
- Wing area: 98.62 m2 (1,061.5 sq ft)
- Empty weight: 19,050 kg (41,998 lb)
- Gross weight: 34,500 kg (76,059 lb)
- Maximum speed: 700 km/h (435 mph; 378 kn)
- Range: 4,325 km (2,687 mi; 2,335 nmi)
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- "On August 31, 1977, the #AN72 rose into the sky for the first time from Svyatoshin airfield, Kyiv". Retrieved 30 January 2019.
- "✈ russianplanes.net ✈ наша авиация". Archived from the original on 10 February 2015.
- "New Stol freighter unveiled". Flight International: 163. 21 January 1978. Archived from the original on 14 July 2013.
- Penney, Stewart (4 August 1999). "Military Aircraft Directory Part 1". London: Flightglobal. Archived from the original on 14 July 2013.
- "1975 - 0194 - Flight Archive". Archived from the original on 27 November 2015. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 10 June 2018.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS". Archived from the original on 7 January 2009. Retrieved 25 June 2009.
- Jane's Aircraft Recognition Guide, 1999
- Flight International, 3–9 October 2006
- "World Air Forces 2019". flightglobal.com. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
- "ASN Aircraft accident: Antonov 72 ER-ACF between Abidjan and Rundu." Archived 4 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine Aviation Safety Network, 2010. Retrieved: 27 June 2011.
- Toh, Mavis (26 December 2012). "An-72 crashes in Kazakhstan, killing 27". Singapore: Flightglobal. Flight International. Archived from the original on 17 July 2013.
- "Military plane carrying 27 crashes in Kazakhstan". AFP. 25 December 2012. Archived from the original on 25 December 2012. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Antonov An-72.|
- 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 Article, Images
- Specs at globalsecurity.org