First “Saudi-made” aircraft to have first flight tests next year

Light military cargo aircraft has been designed and built in partnership with Ukrainian company
First “Saudi-made” aircraft to have first flight tests next year
By Staff writer
Wed 24 Feb 2016 12:56 PM

A military transport aircraft that is being designed and built in Saudi Arabia, in partnership with a Ukrainian company, will have its first flight test next year.

Arab News reported that the 80 Antonov 132 (AN-132) aircraft would be produced, quoting Prince Turki Bin Saud Bin Mohammed, president of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST).

The AN-132 military cargo aircraft is essentially a re-engined version of the AN-32.

In April last year, KACST signed a partnership with Ukraine’s Antonov to begin the AN-132 development programme. A further agreement was signed between Antonov and Taqnia Aeronautics Company last May. KACST will own 50 percent of the intellectual property.

The move is one of five programmes being run by Taqnia that are designed to transfer technological knowhow to the kingdom.

Faced with weak oil prices, Riyadh has said it wants to diversify its economy, create skilled jobs and boost the private sector, including raising participation in the defence industry.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that US defence manufacturer Sikorsky was mulling a plan to build Black Hawk helicopters in Saudi Arabia.

Other partnerships include a tie-up with US firm DigitalGlobe to manufacture six small satellites, and an agreement with Turkey’s Aselsan to build radars and “electro-visual devices” in Saudi Arabia, Arab News said.

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