KACST inaugurated the first lightweight multi-purpose aircraft, Antonov (AN-132) in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine on Tuesday, the 20th of December 2016, under the patronage of His Excellency Pietro Borchenko the President of Ukraine, His Highness Dr. Turki bin Saud bin Mohammed Al-Saud, the President of KACST, and a number of officials from the Kingdom and the Republic of Ukraine.
The aircraft is capable of flying at 28,000 feet with a load of 9.2 tons, for a distance of 4,500 km at a maximum speed of 550 km per hour. Engineering studies were conducted to provide the aircraft with Pratt and Whitney PW 150A engines, advanced electronic and navigation systems, and many other modern systems that ensure high performance and quality standards to reach international markets.
The launch comes thanks to the technical alliance concluded by KACST with Antonov as part of its initiatives in the 2020 National Transformation Program to achieve the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision. KACST owns 50% of the intellectual property of this aircraft.
Antonov is known for its extensive experience in manufacturing large-scale aircrafts for various applications. Therefore, Antonov experts were chosen to train young Saudi cadres to gain experience and develop and refine their skills and potentials. This agreement will allow the two parties to open new horizons for continued cooperation.
The aircraft production will be in parallel in both the Kingdom and Ukraine, and Saudi engineers and technicians along with their Ukrainian counterparts will participate in production lines.
Taqnia, together with KACST and Antonov, are working on transferring, and localizing technology and establishing infrastructure for the local aircraft industry to develop manufacturing capabilities. They will cooperate with specialized Saudi government-owned and private-sector companies. This cooperation will enable them to reduce procurement, training, operation and aircraft maintenance costs besides raising the aircraft manufacturing technical knowledge level and providing many job opportunities for young men and women in the Kingdom.
In the second quarter of 2017, the Kingdom’s citizens will witness the first Saudi-Ukrainian plane flying over the country.