Riyadh – A cooperation agreement between Saudi Arabia and Ukrainian manufacturer Antonov will be translated on Tuesday with the launching of an electronic warfare and surveillance aircraft, which is based on the An-132 light multi-mission transport aircraft.
According to the designers, the new electronic warfare (EW) aircraft can counter airborne warning and control system planes, air defense systems and manned and unmanned aircraft.
Well-informed sources told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that the aircraft production took place at the Taqnia Aeronautics facility in Saudi Arabia, which is an element of the Kingdom’s diversification plan, realized by the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) facility.
The sources added that the aircraft was “propelled by Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150 engines, with six-bladed Dowty Propellers Company R408 propellers; the fully digital avionics system is going to be delivered by Honeywell, while the life support system is to be provided by the Liebherr company.”
The sources also said that a launching ceremony would be held in Kiev on Tuesday, in the presence of officials from both countries.
The aircraft will be present in Saudi airports as of April 2017, the sources added.
In earlier reports, Turki Bin Saud Bin Mohammed Al-Saud, chairman of Taqnia Aeronautics and president of the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, said that the evolved Antonov-32 will have an extended range and is designed for military and civilian operations.
“Its range will be doubled or more and the kingdom will participate in developing new specifications for the aircraft to co-own this technology with the Antonov company,” he said.
He added that Saudi Arabia would own the intellectual property and engineering designs for the aircraft, noting that Saudi qualified cadres would be trained by Antonov aircraft experts to develop their skills and expertise in this field.