Antonov An-12 | Tactical transport aircraft

Antonov An-12
Antonov An-12

Militarymedia.net - The An-12 (Western reporting name Cub) is a Cold War-era transport aircraft. The Antonov design bureau in Kiev built its first major military transport in 1955 with the twin-turboprop An-8 being the standard type. From here descended the four-engine civilian An-10 and pressurized fuselage, which in turn came the mass-produced An-12 military transport with full-width rear loading doors. The first prototype flew in 1958.

Since entering service in 1959, the An-12 has become the most important transport in Soviet military service. Production of this aircraft was discontinued in 1973. More than 1,200 aircraft were built. The An-12 was widely exported. Construction of the An-12 in the Soviet Union was stopped in 1973, but production of the unlicensed aircraft in the People's Republic of China as the Shaanxi Y-8 continued.

Although replacement by the Ilyushin II-76 began in 1974, about 560 An-12s out of 800 delivered, were still in frontline service as transport in 1986. The majority of these aircraft were An-12B engines, this variant becoming the standard transport in Soviet service. from 1963. Together with the Il-76 it formed the backbone of the Soviet Airlift Command during the Cold War.

About 250 An-12 transport aircraft still serve the Russian Air Force. The smaller number fulfills an intelligence gathering role with Russian Naval Aviation. This tactical transport also serves Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Outside of the former Soviet Republic, the An-12 remains in active service in Angola, Eritrea, Guinea, Iraq, Mozambique, Sudan, Yemen and possibly several other countries. These military cargo planes are still widely used around the world by civilian companies.

In many aspects, the An-12 is similar to the Lockheed C-130 Hercules. However, the An-12 is lighter and slightly smaller. It has a maximum payload capacity of 20 t. It can carry two BMD-2 air combat vehicles. Or it can accommodate up to 100 paratroopers. It can be delivered in about 45 seconds with the rear door folded up.

The airlifter is operated by a crew of five or six people, including two pilots, navigator, flight engineer and radio operator. There is also a tail shooter.

Surprisingly, most An-12 airlifters do not have an integral ramp for the vehicle, instead using a ramp that is carried separately and locks into position once the clamshell-style doors are opened upwards on each side. Although some versions of the An-12 have a C-130 ramp style. Also, the main fuselage is not pressurized. Most versions only have a pressurized passenger compartment for 12 passengers to the rear of the pressurized flight deck. This compartment accommodates cargo handlers and vehicle crew.

Some aircraft carried two 23 mm NR-23 cannon in the tail turret. The tail turret is based on the Tu-16 bomber. Most of the surviving aircraft had their weapons removed. Early production models were also equipped with bomb pylons.

Antonov An-12
Antonov An-12

The An-12 was produced in many variants. Only a few versions are mentioned here. Rebuild for many special roles has been a lot.

Antonov An-12 Variant

The An-12B upgrades the production version with a removable fuel tank. It is powered by the more reliable Ivchenko AI-20M engine. This engine has the same rating as the previous AI-20K.

A-12BP. Reporting name West Cub-A.

Electronic intelligence aircraft. Reporting name West Cub-B.

An-12PP electronic warfare aircraft. Reporting name West Cub-C. This is a more extensive rebuild with equipment housed in the large nose/tail/canoe radome providing significant active jamming capability.

Shaanxi Y-8 Chinese unlicensed copy of the An-12. This aircraft is widely used in China. Production continues and new variants of this basic design keep popping up.

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