The world’s largest turboprop aircraft, the Antonov An-22 (Antaeus) in service with the Russian Air Force (Voyenno-Vozdushnye Sily Rossii, VVS), takes off on a recent test flight from an unidentified military transport aviation base in the Tver Region. The crew of Antonov An-22 performed a flight along a specified route using instruments, and also worked out actions in various emergency situations, including engine failure, radio communications and control system elements. During the entire flight, interaction with the flight management groups was carried out.
The Antonov An-22 “Antei” (NATO reporting name “Cock”) is a heavy military transport aircraft designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in the Soviet Union. Powered by four turboprop engines each driving a pair of contra-rotating propellers, the design was the first wide-body transport aircraft and remains the world’s largest turboprop-powered aircraft to date. The An-22 first appeared publicly outside the Soviet Union at the 1965 Paris Air Show. Since then, the model has seen extensive use in major military and humanitarian airlifts for the Soviet Union.
The aircraft was designed as a strategic airlifter, designed specifically to expand the Soviet Airborne Troops’ capability to land with their then-new BMD-1 armoured vehicles. The An-22 cargo hold can accommodate four BMD-1s compared to only one in the An-12. It has the capability to takeoff from austere, unpaved, and short airstrips, allowing airborne troops to perform air-landing operations. This is achieved by four pairs of contra-rotating propellers, similar to those on the Tupolev Tu-114. The propellers and exhaust from the engines produce a slipstream over the wings and large double-slotted flaps.
The An-22 follows traditional cargo transport design with a high-mounted wing allowing a large cargo space of 33 m in length and a usable volume of 639 m³. The forward fuselage is fully pressurized and provides space for 5 to 8 crew and up to 28 passengers, but the cargo space is pressurized to only 3.55 PSI / 0.245 bar allowing for a lighter airframe. This allows the rear cargo doors to be opened during flight for paratroops and equipment drop. The An-22 has the general appearance of an enlarged version of the earlier Antonov An-12 except that it is fitted with a twin tail.