Ukraine to build modern airplane factory in Saudi Arabia

The testing shop of the Antonov Serial Plant (Aviant State Company Kiev Aviation Plant), a subsidiary of Antonov, home to serial production of Antonov aircraft. (RIA Novosti/Sergey Mamontov)
Ukraine has signed a deal to construct an airplane factory in Saudi Arabia. The plant will use the latest technology to produce the new AN-132 light transport aircraft.

The AN−132 will be the first aircraft produced at a new aviation complex in Saudi Arabia. The general purpose plane can carry 9 tons of cargo on short and medium routes.

Ukraine’s state-run Antonov aircraft company will participate in the design and construction of the plant along with partners Taqnia of Saudi Arabia, the Ukrainian Scientific Research Institute of Aviation Technologies, Altis Holding of Ukraine, and Broetje−Automation of Germany, according to a statement on the Antonov website issued Wednesday. The agreement was signed at this year’s Paris air show.

Ukrainian manufacturer Antonov and Saudi state-owned King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) agreed in April to produce a modernized version of Antonov's AN-32 military transport aircraft.

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The AN−132 prototype will be ready in eighteen months according to the director of the KACST Space and Aeronautics Research Institute Dr. Khaled A.Alhussan.

The aircraft is intended to replace aircraft similar to the obsolete AN-32 and AN-26 aircraft.

In May 2015 state-owned Antonov was transferred from Ukraine’s Ministry of Economic Development and Trade to the Ukrainian Defense Industry (Ukroboronprom). The new head of the enterprise Mikhail Gvozdev has been tasked with reestablishing the company as a major airplane manufacturer.