The Antonov An-32 (NATO reporting name of "Cline") was developed as an improved version of the An-26 ("Curl") twin-engine transport. The An-32 introduced more powerful engines for better "hot-and-high" performance, allowing it to work in rougher conditions than the original An-26 was designed to operate in. The An-26 debuted in 1969 and went on to have a very lengthy service career, one that still continues today, while the An-32 followed in 1976 and has also managed to stay relevant with many world air powers today. First flight was on July 9th, 1976 and production has totaled 361 units - a far cry from the An-26's 1,400 units.
For simplicity, the An-32 retained the same general appearance of the An-26 and it was mostly internally that the new model line earned its own designation and subsequent reputation. The new engines increased performance, particularly for those customers requiring a transport aircraft for operations in tropical and high-altitude environments and this then led to its procurement by many customers in North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia including India, Iraq, and Sri Lanka among others.
The An-32 receives part of its short take-off and landing qualities from its high-mounted wings. The engines are mounted on top of the wings as opposed to under, allowing for complete clearance by ground personnel when working about the aircraft. The high placement of the engines also allows a large-diameter propeller blade to be fitted which helps to generate more thrust. Power is from 2 x ZMKB Progress AI-20DM turboprop engines generating approximately 5,100 horsepower each. From the this base design, several variants have emerged and these feature increased Maximum Take-Off Weights (MTOWs), improved avionics and other systems, and altogether different engine installations. The aircraft's maximum payload capacity was approximately 7.5 tons with cargo entry/exit accomplished from a powered rear-loading ramp under the tail unit. A standard crew is four to include two pilots, a flight engineer and loadmaster. Performance specifications include a maximum speed of 330 miles per hour, a cruise speed of 292 miles per hour and a range out to 1,555 miles. Its listed service ceiling is 31,165 feet.
Variants began with the original An-32 mark. The An-32A was a civilian market version of which 36 were manufactured. The An-32B was an improved An-32 mark and the An-32B-100 followed as a modernized form of that mark. The An-32B-110 introduced a new avionics package and reduced crew workload. The An-32B-120 was similar and outfitted with Western avionics for discerning customers. The An-32B-300 was given Western Allison AE200D turboprops of 4,600 horsepower each, again to reach a broader market audience. The An-32RE is the modernized form of the B-model series. The An-32LL served as a flying laboratory outfitted with various equipment options to suit the role. The An-32MP became and over-water patrol platform with its own equipment set. A firefighting version emerged as the An-32P. A basic cargo mark became the An-32V-200.