Military Factory logo

Antonov An-26 (Curl)

Soviet Union (1969)
Picture of Antonov An-26 (Curl) Transport Aircraft

The Soviet-era Antonov An-26 Curl transport made a name for itself during the Cold War, produced in some 1,400 examples overall.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Antonov An-26 (Curl) Transport Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 8/29/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Antonov An-26 was developed from the An-24 of 1962 for the airliner passenger / general transport role. First flight of the An-26 product was on May 21st, 1969 and production spanned from then until 1986 to which 1,403 examples were ultimately realized. A plethora of variants then emerged and operators have ranged the globe with many airframes still in active service today (2014).

The original An-24 proved a design that was robust for the most harshest of conditions available across the vast Soviet empire - particularly in hard to reach areas of the frontier where few services were available. This propelled a new, modified form to gain traction, one in particular that included a powered loading ramp for ease of moving cargo pallets to and from the aircraft to awaiting bays or transport trucks. With a new ramp design finishing its testing phase, the installation commenced to produce the new working designation of An-26.
As finalized, the An-26 carried over much of the same form and function of the preceding An-24 model including its high-wing design and twin engine layout. The tail unit remained a single vertical fin with low-set horizontal planes. The flight deck was held at the extreme front end of the fuselage aft of a short nose cone. The cargo hold then made up a bulk of the available internal space remaining. Initial production models were recognized simply as "An-26" and were identified in NATO nomenclature as "Curl-A". A combo passenger/cargo-hauler form then became the An-26-100. The local Chinese variant became the Xian Y-7H military transport.

Other limited production variants followed including an Arctic reconnaissance platform with special mission equipment, an atmospheric air lab, an assault transport prototype, various testbeds, a fire-fighting platform, and other proposed (some unrealized) designs.

Operators have gone on to range from Angola and Belarus to Yemen and Zambia. Many military operators have since abandoned the type including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Poland, and Somalia. The United States operated An-26s through the 6th Special Operations Squadron of the United States Air Force from the period of 2003 to 2007. Soviet An-26s were passed on to the emerging states after the fall of the Soviet empire. Most current operators remain civilian in nature including fifteen operating in the Ukraine.






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.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (277mph).

    Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
Relative Operational Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Antonov An-26 (Curl)'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
Pie graph section
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
1403
1403


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
Supported Mission Types:
Air-to-Air
Interception
Unmanned
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Training
Anti-Submarine
Anti-Ship
Airborne Early Warning
MEDEVAC
Electronic Warfare
Maritime/Navy
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Search/Rescue
Recon/Scouting
Special Forces
X-Plane/Development
National Flag Graphic
National Origin: Soviet Union
Service Year: 1969
Classification Type: Transport Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Antonov Design Bureau - Soviet Union
Production Units: 1,403
Global Operators:
Afghanistan; Angola; Bangladesh; Belarus; Benin; Bulgaria; Cambodia; Cape Verda; Chad; China; Cuba; Czechoslovakia; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Denmark; East Germany; Ethiopia; Germany; Guinea-Bissau; Hungary; Iraq; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Laos; Latvia; Libya; Lithuania; Madagascar; Mali; Moldova; Mongolia; Mozambique; Namibia; Nicaragua; Niger; North Yemen; Pakistan; Peru; Philippines; Poland; Puntland; Republic of Congo; Romania; Russia; Serbia; Slovakia; Somalia; Soviet Union; Sudan; Syria; Tajikistan; Tanzania; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; United States; Uzbekistan; Venezuela; Vietnam; Yemen; Yugoslavia; Zambia
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Antonov An-26 (Curl) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
5


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
78.08 ft


Meters
23.8 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
95.80 ft


Meters
29.2 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
28.22 ft


Meters
8.6 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
33,069 lb


Kilograms
15,000 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
52,911 lb


Kilograms
24,000 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
2 x Progress AI-24VT turboprop engines developing 2,820 horsepower each.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
277 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
445 kph


Knots
240 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
1,553 mi


Kilometers
2,500 km


Nautical Miles
1,350 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
24,606 ft


Meters
7,500 m


Miles
4.66 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
1,575 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
480 m/min

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

None.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• An-26 "Curl" - Base Series Designation; initial production aircraft.
• An-26-100 - Passenger / cargo hauler
• An-26A - Assault transport; single example.
• An-26A SLK - Modernized variant
• An-26B - Civilian cargo hauler
• An-26B-100 - Passenger / cargo hauler
• An-26BL - Alternative designation covering An-26L.
• An-26BRL - Alternative designation covering An-26RL.
• An-26D - Long-range variant
• An-26KPA - Equipment testbed
• An-26L - Testbed
• An-26LL-PLO - Airborne testbed
• An-26LP - Fire-fighting platform
• An-26M - Airborne hospital
• An-26P - Fire-fighting platform
• An-26REP - Electronic CounterMeasures (ECM) platform.
• An-26RL - Surveillance, reconnaissance and monitoring for Arctic circle.
• An-26RR - Alternative designation covering An-26RT.
• An-26RT - Communications relay platform
• An-26RTR - Alternative designation covering An-26RT.
• An-26S - VIP passenger carrier
• An-26Sh - Navigator trainer platform
• An-26ST - East German Air Force special-missions aircraft.
• An-26Z-1 - Czech ELINT model
• An-50 - Proposed jet-powered variant
• Xian Y-7H - Chinese military transport model
• Xian Y-14 - Chinese An-26 copy