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Antonov An-72 / An-74 (Coaler)


Tactical Medium Military Transport Aircraft


Soviet Union | 1986



"The Antonov An-72 Coaler proved to be a successful design despite its unconventional arrangement - resulting in good maneuverability at low altitudes as well as inherent STOL capabilities."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/28/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Because of the sheer size of the Soviet military during the Cold War era (1947-1991), its various services required various transport types to move man, machines and supplies about. The Antonov An-72 (NATO codename of "Coaler") became a product of the period, intended for the logistically-minded tactical transport role. The rather unique aircraft incorporated turbofan engines over the shoulder-mounted wings which made for maximum clearance of the jet wash and promoted excellent inherent lifting properties. The An-72 was eventually adopted as a successor to the aging Antonov An-26 "Curl" transport family (detailed elsewhere on this site) and would go on to see service with various Soviet states and allied nations around the globe.

First flying in December of 1977 (in prototype form of which two would be built), actual production models were not available until the mid-1980s and, even then, these were highly-modified from their original presented forms. The An-72 was designed with Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) in mind so robustness and reliability were key qualities but an natural capability became excellent maneuverability despite the size of the aircraft. The high-mounted engines were purposefully placed so the engine exhaust could feed over trailing edge wing devices, effectively increasing low-level performance.

The An-72 ("Coaler-A") platform went on to spawn other variants that included the maritime surveillance-minded An-72P (Patrol), the An-71 "Madcap" AEW (Airborne Early Warning) aircraft and the An-74 "Improved Coaler", the latter with upgraded engines and a more traditional/conventional engine mounting. The An-72P was developed in conjunction with Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI) and featured a revised "glass" cockpit, specialized Elta-brand radar, and an Electronic Warfare (EW) fit as well as long-range day-or-night observation equipment and related systems/subsystems. It also held provision for rocket and bombs and was armed through a single 23mm GSh-23L series autocannon. The An-72AT was a dedicated transport developed to accommodate foreign shipping containers. The An-72S became a VIP transport and could be used in the MEDEVAC role when configured as such.

About 195 of the series were built under the An-72 and An-74 guises and production has spanning from 1977 to the present. The An-74 was developed (and produced in parallel to the An-72) along the lines of cold weather support and operated through a crew of five, added more fuel storage and installed a larger radar. It was introduced in 1983.

Another notable offshoot, the An-71, emerged in 1985 through a first-flight on July 12th. Only three prototypes of this mark were produced and the variant's program was ultimately cancelled. The version was intended for the Tactical AWACS (Airborne Early Warning And Control = AEW&C) role and carried a dish installation over the rear fuselage.

Current (2017) military operators of the Coaler family line include Equatorial Guinea, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine. The type also sees service in the civilian sector with various operators worldwide. Several have already given up on the series for more modern designs.

As designed, the An-72 featured a length of 92 feet, a wingspan of 104.7 feet and a height of 28.4 feet. Empty weight was 42,000lb against an MTOW of 76,060lb. Power was served from 2 x Lotarev D-36 1A turbofan engines developing upwards of 14,330lb of thrust (each) and maximum speed reached 435 miles-per-hour with a cruising speed of around 375 mph. Range was listed out to 2,690 miles.

The An-72/An-74 series eventually took on the nickname of "Cheburashka", a Soviet cartoon character, owing to its large over-wing engines resembling the character's large ears.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Antonov An-72 (Coaler-C) Tactical Medium Military Transport Aircraft.
2 x Lotarev D-36 turbofan engines developing 14,330 lb of thrust each.
Propulsion
438 mph
705 kph | 381 kts
Max Speed
38,173 ft
11,635 m | 7 miles
Service Ceiling
497 miles
800 km | 432 nm
Operational Range
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Antonov An-72 (Coaler-C) Tactical Medium Military Transport Aircraft.
3
(MANNED)
Crew
94.2 ft
28.70 m
O/A Length
104.7 ft
(31.90 m)
O/A Width
28.4 ft
(8.65 m)
O/A Height
41,998 lb
(19,050 kg)
Empty Weight
76,059 lb
(34,500 kg)
MTOW
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Antonov An-72 / An-74 (Coaler) Tactical Medium Military Transport Aircraft .
Typically None but, if equipped, can include any of the following (An-72P model):

1 x 23mm gun pod.
2 x UB-23M rocket launcher system.
4 x 220lb internally-held conventional drop bombs.
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Antonov An-72 / An-74 (Coaler) family line.
An-72 ('Coaler-A') - Base Series Designation
An-72A ('Coaler-C') - Base Production Model Designation
An-72AT ('Coaler-C') - International Cargo Specialized Variant.
An-72S ('Coaler-C') - VIP Passenger Transport
An-72P - Maritime Patrol Variant; fitted with 23mm cannon, 4 x internal bombs, specialized tracking equipment and rocket pods.
An-71 "Madcap" - Airborne Early Warning And Control platform (AWACs); only three prototypes completed before cancellation; 2 x Progress D-436K turbofan engines.
An-74 - Improved "Coaler"; specialized for extreme cold operation; uprated engines; improved avionics system.
An-74A - Enlarged Nose Radome
An-74D - Variant
An-74T - Freighter Variant
An-74TK - Convertible Passenger/Cargo Variant
An-74MP - Maritime Patrol Version
An-74P "Salon" - VIP Transport Variant
An-74-100 - An-74TK with navigation station added.
An-74-200 - An-74TK with reduced flight crew (2).
An-74TK-200C - An-74TK-200 cargo variant.
An-74T-200 - Military transport
An-74T-200A - Military transport
An-74-400 - Proposed "Stretched" Transport Variant.
An-74TK-300 - D-436 turbofan engines in conventional underwing mounting.
An-75 - Proposed modified version of the An-71 prototypes for use aboard Soviet carriers.
An-174 - "Stretched" Transport/Passenger Variant.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Antonov An-72 / An-74 (Coaler). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 195 Units

Contractor(s): Antonov Design Bureau - Soviet Union
National flag of Angola National flag of Armenia National flag of Egypt National flag of Equatorial Guinea National flag of Estonia National flag of France National flag of Georgia National flag of Iran National flag of Kazakhstan National flag of Libya National flag of Peru National flag of Russia National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Sudan National flag of Ukraine

[ Angola; Armenia; Egypt; Equatorial Guinea; Estonia; France; Georgia; Kazakhstan; Iran; Laos; Libya; Moldova; Peru; Russia; Soviet Union; Sudan; Ukraine ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 500mph
Lo: 250mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (438mph).

Graph Average of 375 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
195
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
EarlyYrs
WWI
Interwar
WWII
ColdWar
Postwar
Modern
Future
1 / 4
Image of the Antonov An-72 / An-74 (Coaler)
Image from the Russian Ministry of Defense; Public Release.
2 / 4
Image of the Antonov An-72 / An-74 (Coaler)
Image from the Russian Ministry of Defense; Public Release.
3 / 4
Image of the Antonov An-72 / An-74 (Coaler)
Image from the United States Department of Defense imagery database.
4 / 4
Image of the Antonov An-72 / An-74 (Coaler)
Image from the United States Department of Defense imagery database.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
MEDEVAC
MARITIME / NAVY
TRANSPORT
VIP SERVICE
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Antonov An-72 / An-74 (Coaler) Tactical Medium Military Transport Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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