No organisation has been responsible for a wider range of transport aircraft than the Ukraine’s Antonov design bureau. Developed from the An-24RT, the Antonov An-30 is a specialised aerial survey aircraft used in small numbers by Russia and a handful of the former Soviet allies. The An-32, on the other hand, is a widely operated tactical transport. With its powerful engines it is particularly useful in hot, mountainous countries.
Externally, the most obvious difference between the An-30 and An-24RT, from which it was developed, is the glazed nose and raised cockpit canopy of the ‘Clank’. Internally, though, the later model carries survey cameras along with a darkroom and map-making equipment, or other geographical survey equipment. An even more specialised version is the An-30M Sky Cleaner. This has fuselage-mounted pods which dispense granular carbon dioxide into clouds in order to produce rain over drought-stricken regions or forest fires.
The An-32 was developed specifically for operations in hot-and-high conditions. In addition to much more powerful engines than the An-30′s 2103-kW (2,820-hp.) AI-24VTs, it has a new wing with triple-slot curved flaps and automatic leading-edge slats.
The type’s ability to operate from airfields as high as 4500 m (14,750 ft.) above sea level, plus rough-field landing gear and a self-contained mechanised loading system, makes it an ideal tactical transport, fire-fighting, ambulance and agricultural aircraft. As a result of its outstanding performance and the difficult conditions in the country, (he An-32 is the standard tactical transport of the Indian air force, which has named it the Sutlej.
An-32s may be called upon to operate in icy, mountainous conditions. As indicated by the substantial de-icing boots on all leading edges, this was one area of improvement over the An-26.
Without lower glazing through which to view navigational landmarks on the ground, accurate navigation becomes difficult. The An-32 and some An-24 and -26 aircraft have a large observation window.
By mounting the powerful AI-20 engines above the wing, the propellers inlets remained clear of runway debris. An-32s are expected to operate from rough airfields and foreign object damage could be disastrous under marginal take-off conditions.
Very deep nacelles characterise the An-32. These house the retracted main undercarriage and the high-set engines. The right-hand nacelle also contains a small auxiliary turbojet.
A 3000-kg capacity hoist is fixed in the cabin to aid freight handling, together with a removable roller conveyor. The cabin can accommodate 12 pallets, 50 passengers or 42 parachutists.