|An-12 of the Russian Air Force|
|Role||Civil and military transport aircraft|
|First flight||16 December 1957|
|Status||Active service with various airlines (especially cargo) and air forces|
|Primary users||Soviet Air Force|
PLA Air Force
The Antonov An-12 (Russian -12; NATO reporting name: Cub) 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. For more than three decades the An-12 was the standard medium-range cargo and paratroop transport aircraft of the Soviet air forces. A total of 1,248 were eventually built.
Developed from the Antonov An-8, the An-12 was a military version of the An-10 passenger transport. The first prototype An-12 flew in December 1957 and entered Soviet military service in 1959. Initially, the aircraft was produced at the State Aviation Factory in Irkutsk. From 1962, production was transferred to Tashkent, where 830 were built. Later, production moved to Voronezh and Kazan.
In military use, the An-12 has capacity for up to 100 fully equipped paratroopers or 20,000 kg (44,090 lb) of cargo, which is loaded through the rear loading ramp/door.
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. After USSR ceased production in 1973, the Xi'an Aircraft Company and Xi'an Aircraft Design Institute reverse-engineered 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 use either in Russia or 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.
The Aircraft first took flight in 1957 and was produced in the USSR until 1973. It was used in a variety of roles from search and rescue operations to equipment transportation. Its most significant use was seen during the Soviet-Afghan War. Among Soviet Soldiers, it was infamously known that the plane would take off from Afghanistan to Tashkent with "Cargo 200" or coffins with the bodies of deceased soldiers. To this regard the aircraft was nicknamed "Black Tulip" (Russian: « ?»).
In addition to its basic cargo transport role, the An-12 was adapted as a platform for a wide variety of specialist tasks and some 30 different variants were produced. Upgrades included increased take-off weights and additional fuel capacity. The upgraded variant An-12BP became the standard tactical transport of the Soviet and other air forces. In 2019, it was announced at the military "Army-2019" Forum that Russia started working on an armed ground-attack and close air support variant of the An-12, similar to the AC-130.
On 12 January 2009, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) issued a temporary ban of 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. The ban was made permanent in Feb 2010.
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era