Description of ANTONOV AN-72
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The Antonov An-72 is a freight aircraft of Soviet origin. It was built to replace the An-26 model, one of the aircrafts that provided tactical transport for the USSR.
The hold, which is 2.20 metres high and 2.50 metres wide, can carry just over 7.5 tons of cargo (containers or pallets) over 860 kilometres. It can also carry 52 passengers (folding seats) instead of the usual loads.
The first aircraft equipped with jet engines appeared in the 1970s. Prototypes of the Antonov-72 were built shortly afterwards and the first An-72 took off in 1977. It took about eight years to start mass production in a factory in Ukraine. In 1983, the Soviets set new speed records in an An-72.
Named Coaler by NATO, it has two engines installed on its wings and a T-tail. It has similarities to the Boeing YC-14 and it is possible that the Soviets were able to obtain data on this American aircraft. They could thus have implemented the concept of Upper Surface Blowing, which consists in sending the air ejected by the engines on the surface of the wings, in order to improve takeoff and landing performance.