Antonov and Saudi partner to modernise An-32 transport

Ukrainian airframer Antonov has signed a pact with Saudi Arabia's Taqnia Aeronautics covering development and manufacturing of the An-132, an updated version of the Cold War-era An-32 turboprop transport.

Destined for civil and military markets, the partners – alongside Saudi Arabia's national science agency, the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) – will update the An-32 with "additional capabilities to the aircraft's payload, range and take-off [performance]".

The aircraft will gain an updated cockpit featuring "sophisticated American-made navigation devices", says Antonov.

With this move, the Gulf state makes a first foray into aircraft design and manufacture. The kingdom will own the intellectual property and the engineering designs for the aircraft, says Antonov.

The Ukrainian airframer will provide training for local staff.

Antonov says the An-32 – essentially a re-engined version of the An-26 – was selected as a platform for development after a study of Saudi Arabia's requirements and the international market for light transport aircraft.

The airframer lists the latest variant of the type, the An-32B-100, as having a maximum take-off weight of 28.5t, with payload of 7.5t. It is powered by twin Motor-Sich AI-20D-5M engines.