Afghan AN-32s Arrive
In the above Jan 10/08 photo, an Afghan soldier with the Afghan National Army Air Corps directs a newly delivered AN-32 light tactical transport plane to its spot on the ramp of Kabul Air Base in Kabul, Afghanistan, just 65 days from receipt of original tasking from the Navy International Program Office. This plane was the first of 4 refurbished AN-32s that were purchased from the Ukraine by the ANAAC, which now has 7 An-32s in inventory. The ANAAC also flies 2 related AN-26 transports.
US Naval Air Systems Command’s (NAVAIR) Support and Commercial Derivative Aircraft Program Office bought the AN-32s from Ukranian commercial firms, after inspecting the aircraft…
The AN-32′s high placement of the engine nacelles above the wing allow bigger propellers, driven by 5,100 hp AI-20 turboprops that almost double the output of the related AN-26′s engines. As a result, the AN-32′s 14,750 pound/ 6900 kg load capacity is almost 50% better than its AN-26 cousin’s. Most important to the ANAAC, it can take off with much better load fractions in hot and/or high-altitude conditions, whose thin air could be a problem for other aircraft. India also operates AN-32 “Cline” aircraft for that very reason, and some of those IAF AN-32s are currently flying supplies into Myanmar.
In May 2008, some stories shone a light on some of the credit for their early delivery, including soldiers like PMA-207′s C-26 and UC-35 Assistant Program Manager for Systems Engineering Mr. Roman Hnatyshyn, a first-generation U.S.-born citizen fluent in the Ukrainian and related Slavic languages. Air Force Lt. Col. Stephen Petters worked the other end, and was deployed from the Pentagon to Afghanistan to help rebuild the ANAAC’s ability to support itself and the planes it would be getting. NAVAIR release | Photo and initial delivery information from the Pentagon’s DefenseLINK.
In June and July 2008, The Afghan National Army Air Corps AN-26 and AN-32 aircraft flew more than 78 sorties, transporting 1,697 passengers and more than 27,000 pounds of cargo to support ANA Operation DAOR BUKHOU in response to the Kandahar prison escape. These were the first combat support missions for the 2 NAVAIR-acquired AN-32 aircraft. NAVAIR release.
The final 2 AN-32s will arrive in Kabul, Afghanistan by the end of August 2008.
By September 2010, these 4 aircraft comprised all of Afghanistan’s operational Anotonov planes, but even these new planes were scheduled for phase-out by 2011, in favor of the ANAAF’s new C-27A light transports.