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Airbus Military / CASA CN-235

Spain (1988)
Picture of Airbus Military / CASA CN-235 Medium-Lift Tactical Transport / Maritime Patrol Aircraft
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The successful CASA CN-235 transport - formed from a Spanish and Indonesian partnership - has become the basis for the longer EADS CASA C-295.

Detailing the development and operational history of the Airbus Military / CASA CN-235 Medium-Lift Tactical Transport / Maritime Patrol Aircraft.

 Entry last updated on 4/20/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©

Attempting to cut a niche in the medium-lift, fixed-wing tactical transport market has been the CASA/IPTN CN-235 series introduced in 1988. Some 273 have been produced to date (2015) and these have gone on to see widespread service with elements ranging from Bangladesh and Botswana to Venezuela and Yemen. The series has seen its end for some as a military instrument while others continue purchases of the type. The CASA C-295 is a related development introduced in 2001 while offering increased capabilities through a stretched-fuselage design, Pratt & Whitney PW127G turboprop engines and greater cargo-hauling capability. It is detailed in a separate entry on this site.

The CN-295 began as a joint-project venture between CASA (Contrucciones Aeronauticas SA) of Spain and IPTN (Indonesian Aerospace) of Indonesia attempting to design, development and (individually) manufacture a viable tactical transport platform at cost to compete with the likes of stalwarts such as the Lockheed C-130 "Hercules". The aircraft was given the usual "tactical transport features" as a result: high / straight wing mainplanes, a short undercarriage for low-profile ground-running, underslung engines to clear ground activity, and a raised tail unit offering excellent access to the cargo hold within the body of the aircraft. The crew numbers two pilots and a flight engineer while the hold supports up to 51 seated passengers, 35 airborne troopers, 18 medical litters or four supply palettes. The payload maximum equals about 13,100 lb.

Selected power is from 2 x General Electric CT7-9C3 turboprop engines driving four-bladed propeller assemblies through 1,750 horsepower output each. Cruising speed is 285 miles-per-hour with ranges out to 2,705 miles and a service ceiling up to 25,000 feet. Rate-of-climb is 1,780 feet-per-minute.

The resulting prototype first flew on November 11th, 1983 and service introduction came on March 1st, 1988. Initial production models were thirty of the CN-235-10 model to which fifteen were produced by the two manufactures and carried General Electric GT7-7A engines. CASA then added 100 of the CN-235-100 mark outfitted with General Electric CT7-9C engines housed in composite nacelles. Additionally improvements were made to various onboard components and systems. Indonesian aero-industry added 110 of this mark.

Picture of the Airbus Military / CASA CN-235 Medium-Lift Tactical Transport / Maritime Patrol Aircraft
Picture of the Airbus Military / CASA CN-235 Medium-Lift Tactical Transport / Maritime Patrol Aircraft

CN-235-200/220 was seen as an improved CN-235 with structural refinements throughout as well as better field performance and operational range. CASA completed 200 of this standard and IPTN added 220 of its own production. CN-235-300 introduced a Honeywell-based avionics fit and some minor changes. The CN-235-330 "Phoenix" was based on the -200 / -220 series aircraft and intended to compete for the Australian Project Air 5190 tactical airlifter but fell to naught. The CN-235 MPA became a dedicated maritime patrol design with provision for carrying and launching Anti-Ship Missiles (ASMs) and air-launched torpedoes. HC-144 "Ocean Sentry" became another dedicated maritime development, introduced for service in 2009, and adopted by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) - eighteen of this type were procured.

For those global parties interest in an attack model with excellent handling and loitering capabilities, the AC-235 was developed. This gunship-minded form is armed through a 30mm cannon (facing to the side, the aircraft banking to engage), rocket pods and missiles as well as carrying full radar functionality for low-light / nighttime work. The design is intended to challenge the likes of the Lockheed AC-130 Hercules series gunships and similar platform.

A few airline concerns managed small stocks of CN-235s as passenger-haulers but these did not find much notable success in the role.

The CN-295 is still marketed under the brand label of Airbus Defence & Space as a "lower cost tactical airlifter" (EADS merged with CASA to produce "EADS CASA" which was absorbed into the Airbus Military brand in 2009). It has proven a versatile performer, offering Short-Take-Off and Landing (STOL) capabilities on prepared or rough airfields and is known as a reliable product. Airbus DS also headlines the troubled A400M "Atlas" heavy-lifter development (detailed elsewhere on this site) as well as the C-212 light transport.

Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (282mph).

    Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
Relative Operational Ranges
Graph showcases the CASA / IPTN CN-235-100's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Impact
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
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Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
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CASA / IPTN CN-235-100 Specifications
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Year: 1988
Status: Active, In-Service
Type: Medium-Lift Tactical Transport / Maritime Patrol Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): CASA - Spain / IPTN - Indonesia / Airbus Military - France
Production: 273
Supported Mission Types
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Airborne Early Warning
Electronic Warfare
Aerial Tanker
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Special Forces
Crew: 3
Length: 70.21 ft (21.4 m)
Width: 84.68 ft (25.81 m)
Height: 26.84 ft (8.18 m)
Empty Weight: 21,605 lb (9,800 kg)
MTOW: 36,376 lb (16,500 kg)

Installed Power
2 x General Electric CT7-9C3 turboprop engines developing 1,750 shaft horsepower each.

Standard Day Performance
Maximum Speed: 282 mph (454 kph; 245 kts)
Maximum Range: 3,107 mi (5,000 km; 2,700 nm)
Service Ceiling: 25,000 ft (7,620 m; 4.73 mi)
Rate-of-Climb: 1,780 ft/min (543 m/min)

None - Unless outfitted for maritime patrol duties (anti-ship missiles/torpedoes) or gunship sorties (30mm cannon, rockets and Air-to-Surface Missiles (ASMs)).

Cargo payload up to 13,100 pounds.

Operators List
Argentina; Austria; Azerbaijan; Bophuthatswana; Botswana; Brunei; Burkina Faso; Cambodia; Chile; Colombia; Ecuador; France; Gabon; Indonesia; Ireland; Jordan; Kenya; Madagascar; Malaysia; Mexico; Morocco; Namibia; Nigeria; Oman; Pakistan; Panama; Papua New Guinea; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; South Africa; South Korea; Spain; Thailand; Turkey; United Arab Emirates; United States; Venezuela; Yemen

Series Model Variants
• CN-235 - Base Series Designation
• CN-235-10 - Original 30 production models, 15 produced by CASA and IPTN respectively; GE CT7-7A turboprop engines.
• CN-235-100 - Spanish model; GE CT7-9C engines in composite nacelles; updated electricals and other improved systems/components.
• CN-235-110 - Indonesian mark of the CN-235-100
• CN-235-200 - Improved standard with extended operational range, better field performance, and refinements throughout.
• CN-235-220 - Indonesian mark of the CN-235-200
• CN-235-300 - Honeywell avionics
• CN-235-330 "Phoenix" - Intended for Australian tactical airlifter competition; development by IPTN; increased MTOW; Honeywell avionics.
• CN-235 MPA ("Maritime Patrol Aircraft") - Dedicated maritime platform with support for anti-ship missiles and torpedoes.
• HC-144 "Ocean Sentry" - Dedicated maritime patrol platform adopted by the United States Coast Guard service.
• AC-235 - Proposed gunship variant outfitted with side-firing 30mm cannon and support for rockets and Air-to-Surface Missiles (ASMs).

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