Antonov An-12 Transport Aircraft - Soviet Union:

Antonov An-12 Transport Aircraft

The Antonov An-12 is a four-engined turboprop transport aircraft designed in the Soviet Union. It is the military version of the Antonov An-10 and has many variants.

The first prototype An-12 flew in December 1957. Over 900 had been built (both military and civilian versions) when Soviet production finally ended in 1973. The An-12BP entered Soviet military service in 1959. In terms of configuration, size, and capability, the aircraft is similar to the United States-built Lockheed C-130 Hercules. Soviet military and former-Soviet An-12s have a defensive tail gun turret.

In the 1960s, China purchased several An-12 aircraft from the Soviet Union, along with a license to assemble the aircraft locally. Due to the Sino-Soviet split, the Soviet Union withdrew its technical assistance and the first flight of a Chinese-assembled An-12 was delayed until 1974. The Xi'an Aircraft Company and Xi'an Aircraft Design Institute worked to reverse-engineer the An-12 for local production.

In 1981, the Chinese version of the An-12, designated Y-8, entered production. Since then, the Y-8 has become one of China's most popular military and civilian transport/cargo aircraft, with many variants produced and exported. A Tu-16/H-6 bomber navigator cockpit design was chosen for the Y-8 instead of the original An-12 shorter navigator cockpit design, as the H-6 bomber had been in serial production for some time. Although the An-12 is no longer in production neither in Russia nor in Ukraine, the Y-8 is upgraded and produced in China. The latest Y8-F600 is a joint venture between the Shaanxi Aircraft Company, Antonov Aeronautical Scientific Technical Complex (ASTC), and Pratt & Whitney Canada. The Y8-F600 has a redesigned fuselage, western avionics, PW150B turboprop engines with an R-408 propeller system, and a two-crew glass cockpit. It is unknown whether the Shaanxi Y-8 remains in production. More details