Ukraine and Saudi Arabia are working on plans to launch bulk production of Ukraine’s new light multipurpose An-132 aircraft with a capacity of 9.2 tonnes designed by Antonov State Enterprise (Kyiv) at the production facilities in Taif (Saudi Arabia).
The press service of Antonov State Enterprise said on its Facebook page that during a visit of a delegation from Antonov headed by Antonov President Oleksandr Kryvokon to Saudi Arabia Ukrainian specialists studied a project on building a technological cluster where bulk production of new An-132 aircraft would be launched.
The press service said that this project is to be a part of the scientific and technical development program of Taif city located in the western part of Saudi Arabia. King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia officially announced the start of the program in October 2017.
The program includes building of industrial and university campuses, a residential quarter with 10,000 apartments and an international airport. The technological cluster will be built in cooperation with King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), which is one of the key partners in the An-132 program. The technological cluster will include: an airplane factory with an airfield, an enterprise for manufacturing solar panels and a solar power plant.
“TAQNIA Aeronautics and Antonov State Enterprise are working on a feasibility study for the construction of an aircraft plant with the participation of Western experts. The construction of the plant is scheduled to begin in 2019. It will take nine months to build the plant. The bulk assembly of An-132 aircraft should be launched in 2021,” the press service said.
The An-132 multipurpose plane with a carrying capacity of 9.2 tonnes is modification of the An-32 light transport aircraft aimed to replace the An-32 and the An-26 planes on the market.
Antonov is implementing the program under a contract signed in April 2015 with Saudi Arabia’s KACST and TAQNIA Aeronautics Co. The plane is being built with participation of leading western manufacturers: Pratt & Whitney Canada, CMC Electronics (Canada), U.S. Honeywell, France’s Liebherr and Britain’s Dowty Propellers.
The assembly of the prototype showcased at the air show was finished at Antonov’s facilities in December 2016. In March 2017, the plane successfully carried out its maiden flight.