Saudi Arabia inks new deal to build military cargo planes

80 Antonov AN-132 transport planes are reportedly being developed under a deal with Ukraine

Saudi Arabia is preparing to test a new military transport aircraft it is manufacturing in partnership with Ukraine.

Under an agreement between the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology and Ukrainian aircraft manufacturing firm Antonov, the two countries are building 80 AN-132s – a modern version of the military transport plane AN-32.

The new model would have modern engines and electronics that would make it more fuel efficient and able to take off and land in a range of different environments.

It will be launched for test flights next year following 18 months of production, Prince Turki bin Saud bin Mohammad, president of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, told local media, according to a report in Arab News.

He said the news follows the kingdom’s signing of five agreements with civil and military technology and manufacturing companies to set up five new companies specialising in military and civil industries, satellite and radar production, and clean energy.

Two of these agreements would see the separate manufacturing of aircraft by two companies, Black Hawk and Antonov.

This latest agreement with Antonov is an expansion of an existing deal between King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology and Antonov.

The Ukrainian company announced last year that it had signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Taqnia Aeronautics Co., a subsidiary of Saudi development and investment company Taqnia, to develop and manufacture the Antonov-32 light cargo plane in Saudi Arabia.

Under the deal, Ukraine’s Altis Holding and Germany’s Broetje-Automation agreed to establish a manufacturing facility in Saudi Arabia.

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