Antonov An-24 (Coke)
Twin-Turboprop Military Transport Aircraft
The An-24 Coke was yet another in the long line of Antonov transport aricraft utilized by the Soviet Air Force.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
The Antonov An-24 (NATO codename of "Coke") is a Cold War-era twin-turboprop utility aircraft sitll operated by various air powers of the world including the Russian Air Force. Its proven capabilities, and consistent modernization, have kept it at the forefront of the transport world. where its impact has been felt for decades. First flown in prototype form on October 29th, 1959, the aircraft was formally introduced into service in 1962 and was produced from 1959 to 1979 to the tune of some 1,367 examples (though just over 100 are actively operated today - 2020). The line has also been manufactured by ally China as the "Y-7" and other variants include the An-26, An-30, and An-32.
An-24s were adopted to succeed an aging line of Ilyushin IL-14 transports introduced back in 1954 (1,348 were produced).
The general arrangement of the An-24 is typical for an aircraft of this class: the cockpit seats two side-by-side aft of a rounded, short nosecone assembly. The fuselage is tubular and capped by a single, large-area rudder fin at rear that sports upward-cranked horizontal planes. The wing mainplanes are shoulder-mounted and each has an underslung engine nacelle providing the necessary power, lift, and drag for Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) actions. The undercarriage is a conventional retractable tricycle configuration with the twin-wheeled main legs recessing into the engine nacelles and the twin-wheeled nose leg retracting under the cockpit floor.
The An-24 differed from earlier Antonov company products in that it was designed and built to stricter military requirements centered on battlefield conditions - in particular operations from makeshift runways / rough fields. Besides being utilized as a military transport, the series was also handed various other roles that included humanitarian assistance, general cargo transportation, and VIP passenger hauling (up to 52 personnel in this role). Other forms were relied upon for the atmospheric reconnaissance role and still others were used to test various engine fits and other technologies in an active airborne setting - such was the aircraft's versatility.
As can be expected, the An-24 was evolved into many variants. "An-24" was used to mark the first prototypes. The An-24AT-RD was a transport with turbojet-boosting take-off capabilities. The An-24B seated 50 passengers and used single-slotted flaps while the An-24D was a planned but abandoned long-range passenger hauler. A pair of An-24LR models carried Sideways-Looking Airborne Radar (SLAR) for ice reconnaissance sorties. The An-24PS was used in the Search and Rescue (SAR) role while the An-24RT became a communications relay platform.
The related An-26 is a tactical transport complete with cargo ramp. The An-30 is used in the photographic-mapping role and carries specialized equipment. The An-32 is the An-26 developed for better handling of extreme weather conditions. The An-34 is the unused designation for the eventual An-24T mark. The An-50 became an abandoned jet-powered project involving the An-24 design fitted with 4 x Ivchenko AI-25 turbofan engines - it was not furthered.
The An-24V production mark was crewed by three and could ferry up to 50 passengers. Overall length reached 77.1 feet with a wingspan of 95.9 feet, and a height of 27.3 feet. Empty weight was 30,000lb against an MTOW of 46,300lb. Power was from 2 x Ivchenko AI-24A turboprop engines developing 2,550 horsepower each driving 4-bladed AV-72 series constant-speed propellers measuring 12.9 feet in diameter.
The aircraft could hope to reach speeds of 280 miles-per-hour out to a range of 1,500 miles (with full payload capacity reached) and its service ceiling topped at 27,600 feet. Rate-of-climb reached 375 feet-per-minute.
Current (2020) military operators of the An-24 include the North Korean Air Force (one example modified to serve in the Airborne Early Warning - AEW - role), the Russian Air Force and Navy, and the Ukrainian Air Force and Navy. Post operators include Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Iran, Iraq, Poland, Vietnam and others. Civilian market forms are also in use or have existed in the past.