Design and development
The first prototype flew in March 1957. Over 900 had been built, in both military and civilian versions, before 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. Military Soviet planes have a defensive tail gun turret.
On January 12, 2009, the United Arab Emirates banned the AN-12 from flying over their airspace following runway incursions at Sharjah International Airport and the GCAA has advised operators to stop using the aircraft. However this ban was lifted in May 2009 although authorities have said that they will take further action against operators found guilty of unsafe practices in future.
In the 1960s, China purchased several An-12 aircraft from the Soviet Union, along with license to assemble the aircraft locally. However, due to the Sino-Soviet split, the Soviet Union withdrew its technical assistance. It wasn't until 1974, when the first Chinese-assembled An-12 had its maiden flight. The Xi'an Aircraft Company and Xi'an Aircraft Design Institute worked to reverse engineer the An-12 for local production.
By 1981, the Chinese copy version of An-12, named Yun-8 (Y-8) entered serial 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. Although the An-12 is no longer made in Russia or Ukraine, the Chinese Y-8 continues to be upgraded and produced. The latest Y-8-F600 is a joint venture between Shaanxi Aircraft Company, Antonov Aeronautical Scientific-Technical Complex (ASTC), and Pratt & Whitney Canada. The Y-8-F600 has redesigned fuselage, western avionics, PW150B turboprop engine with an R-408 propeller system, and 2-man glass cockpit.
In August 2006 a total of 179 Antonov An-12 aircraft remain in airline service. Major operators include: Air Guinee (4), Alada (5), British Gulf International Airlines (7), Avial Aviation (4), Heli Air Service (4), Scorpion Air (4), Tiramavia (4), Aerovis Airlines (5), Veteran Airlines (4), KNAAPO (5), Vega Airlines (6) ATRAN Cargo Airlines (4) and Volare Airlines (6). Some 77 other airlines operate smaller numbers of the type.
Data from Global Aircraft, Airliners.net
Accidents and incidents
In popular culture
In the 2005 movie Lord of War, the main character Yuri Orlov, played by Nicolas Cage, commonly uses an Antonov An-12 to transport weapons, and is later said to have "a fleet" of such planes. Andrew Niccol, the director of Lord of War, stated that they actually used one of Viktor Bout's An-12 aircraft in the movie.
Published - July 2009
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