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Antonov An-72

Tactical transport aircraft


The An-72 has a very unusual layout with engines located over the wing

Country of origin Soviet Union
Entered service 1977
Crew 3 - 5 men
Dimensions and weight
Length 28 m
Wing span 31.89 m
Height 8.75 m
Weight (empty) 19 t
Weight (maximum take off) 34.5 t
Engines and performance
Engines 2 x Ivchenko Progress D-36 turbofan engines
Traction 2 x 63.9 kN
Maximum speed 720 km/h
Cruising speed 550 - 600 km/h
Service ceiling 10.1 km
Range 4 325 km
Range (with maximum payload) ?
Range (with 5 t payload) 3 100 km
Ferry range ?
Maximum payload 10 t
Troops 52 passengers
Vehicles ?
Cargo compartment dimensions 9 x 2.2 x 2.15 m


   The Antonov An-72 is a tactical military transport aircraft. Its Western reporting name is Coaler. It was developed by Antonov Design Bureau. Development commenced in the early 1970s. The aircraft made its first flight in 1977. It was officially adopted even before the flight tests were completed. Full-rate production commenced in 1980. Originally it was intended to replace the Antonov An-26, however only relatively small number of these aircraft (around 120 units) were built. Its production still continues in Ukraine. Currently major military operators of the An-72 are Russian Air Force (39) and Ukraine Air Force (26). Variants of the An-72 are used as commercial freighters with a number of operators worldwide.

   The An-72 has a very unusual layout. Engines are located above the wing and are blowing over the flaps. Such design boosts lift. As a result the aircraft has 20% more lift power and improved short take-off and landing performance. This layout, and some of other design features were copied from the Boeing YC-14 transport aircraft, that was a successful design, but did not entered production. Even though this concept was not novel, it seems that the Soviets acquired blueprints of the YC-14. Similar layout has been used only on a few other aircraft. However the Antonov An-72 is much smaller than the Boeing YC-14.

   This aircraft has a payload capacity of 10 000 kg and can airdrop cargo. There are folding seats for up to 52 passengers. Also it can airlift various vehicles. The An-72 has a hinged loading ramp at the rear.

   This military transport aircraft is powered by two Ivchenko Progress D-36 (also known as Lotarev D-36) turbofan engines. These engines are still produced in Ukraine.

   The An-72 is a short take-off and landing aircraft. It can operate from low-grade airstrips, semi-prepared fields and even unprepared surfaces. Its takeoff roll is 620 m and landing run is 420 m.




   An-72 (Western reporting name Coaler-A) was a pre-production aircraft. A total of eight were built, plus two flying prototypes and one static test airframe.

   An-72A (Western reporting name Coaler-C) was an initial production aircraft.

   An-72AT is a freighter version. It is compatible with standard international shipping containers.

   An-72P maritime patrol aircraft. Its main role is to patrol sea cost. It is armed with 23-mm twin-barrel cannon and has underwing hardpoints for pods with unoperated rockets or 100 kg bombs. It can transport 22 paratroopers, or alternatively cargo with a maximum weight of 5 t. The first An-72P aircraft was constructed somewhere between 1983 and 1986.

   An-72PS search and rescue aircraft.

   An-72S VIP transport. Its production commenced in 1987.

   An-72G is a civilian freighter aircraft. It was approved for production in 1993.

   An-71 (Western reporting name Madcap). It was an airborne early warning aircraft. It is based on the An-72. It made its first flight in 1975. Only 3 prototypes were built before the program was cancelled.

   An-74 is a version of the An-72, that can operate in polar regions of Arctic and Antarctica. Originally this aircraft had the designation An-74A Arktika. Modifications have been made for operation in harsh weather conditions. It could operate from low grade airstrips, such as concrete, pebble, ice and snow. It had better de-icing equipment, carried more fuel and could be fitted with wheel-skis landing gear, and some other equipment, that allowed the aircraft to operate in extreme Arctic conditions. Its maximum payload capacity was 7 500 kg. The first two aircraft were completed in 1983. Since its introduction numerous versions of this aircraft appeared. The An-74 was produced alongside the An-72. Its production still continues in Ukraine. As of 2016 a total of 76 were built, including variants. These are used both by military and civil operators.









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