- Payload 18000 KG / 39683 lbs
Entering into service in 1959, the Antonov AN-12 was the standard medium-range cargo transport aircraft of the Soviet air forces for more than three decades. It was said to be the Soviet equivalent of the American Lockheed C-130 Hercules.
One of the best qualities of the AN-12 – and one of its major selling points – is its short runway capabilities and, of course, its hauling qualities. The high-mounted wings and four engine installations give the AN-12 strong lifting qualities, while the raised tail allows unrestricted access to the cargo hold by way of a powered door and loading ramp.
The AN-12 is designed specifically to act as a freighter aircraft and is ideal for medium range freight charters. With the cockpit set far forward in the design, the fuselage can serve to manage cargo as well as fuel stores and other cargo components. The freight door height clears 8.2ft and the width measures over 9.8ft, and with the raised tail design allowing further clearance for machinery and vehicles, getting large cargo into the aircraft is easy. The hold itself measures over 45ft in length, over 10ft in width and over 8ft in height, and can manage a maximum payload of up to 18 tonnes.
The Antonov AN-12’s power comes from the four ZMDB Ivchenko AI-20M turboprop engines that generate 4 252-shaft horsepower each. The power generated by these engines allows the AN-12 to travel at cruise speeds of up to 300mph, and at an altitude ceiling of 34,449ft. The range with a complete fuel load for the AN-12 is about 3,540 miles.
The aircraft features an electric traveling crane on a gantry that runs the length of the cargo bay and twin winches, to pull in vehicles and other payloads.
The first prototype of the AN-12 flew in December 1957 and entered Soviet service in 1959. Production of the aircraft began in the State Aviation Factory in Irkutsk but was later moved to Tashkent and then on to Voronezh and Kazan, with a total of 1,248 having been built.
The AN-12 was produced in many specialized and customized variants, with up to 60 variants being designed in the end, each with their own unique designation. Production of the AN-12 type cargo aircraft ceased in 1973.
Antonov State Company was founded in 1946 at the Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Association as a top-secret organization, headed up by a man named Oleg Antonov. The company specialized in turboprop military transport aircraft.
In July of 2017, Ukraine’s state-owned arms manufacturer Ukroboronprom announced the creation of the Ukrainian Aircraft Company, combining all aircraft manufacturing enterprises, including the assets of Antonov, into a single cluster.
While there were over 60 variants of the AN-12 produced, the most interesting of them all is the AN-12T because the mystery designation of the suffix ‘T’ has no known meaning. Aircraft with these suffixes were only produced in the Voronezh and Tashkent factories and were delivered to Military and civil customers without any obvious reason or explanation for the ‘T’. AN-12 models with this mystery designation were the AN-12TA, AN-12TB, AN-12TBP and the AN-12TBK.
The Antonov AN-12 is no longer in development so, unfortunately, hopes of a brand-new freighter are out the window. However, there are some AN-12 variants available for purchase from second-hand dealers.
Where to buy
There aren’t very many of these aircraft currently in service in fleets around the world and they can be quite rare to come by. We found several AN-12s available for purchase from flyingbooth.com and one listing on aircraft24.com, all with the price available upon request.
The cost of chartering an Antonov AN-12 will vary depending on the cargo you wish to transport, the length of the route, and destination airports of your flight. Charters in the AN-12 can range from $8,600 to over $10,000 per hour of flight.