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Antonov An-2 (Colt)

Single-Engine Biplane Utility Aircraft

Soviet Union | 1947

"The Antonov An-2 Colt biplane was developed to replace the Polikarpov Po-2 in the utility and agricultural roles."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/05/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The Antonov An-2 is a multi-role light utility biplane initially produced under the Soviet flag. Despite its 1940's pedigree, the system has continued service and operations throughout the world and production itself has totaled over 18,000 examples as of this writing. The An-2 goes under the NATO codename of "Colt" and is designated in US DoD nomenclature as the "Type 22". The Soviet Union/Russia, Poland and China have all lent a hand in production of local base and specialized variants. Operators are numerous and range from those with military service to those with civilian-minded needs.

Antonov An-2 Walk-Around

Externally, the An-2 shares many similarities with other light aircraft of this class. The engine - powering a four-bladed propeller - is held in the extreme forward of the fuselage to which the cockpit is situated directly aft. The cockpit is heavily glazed and observation port windows can be seen along the fuselage sides. The wing arrangement on this aircraft is of a sesquiplane (uneven span) biplane assembly with the top wing noticeably wider than the lower element. Each wing is connected via a single large vertical strut making up a single wing bay and each wing system showcases dihedral (upward angle). The fuselage tapers slightly into the empennage to which is affixed a single large, smooth-edge vertical tail fin and its applicable stabilizers mounted to either tail fin side. Like other aircraft of this classification, the An-2 sports a pair of fixed landing gear legs complimented by a smaller tail wheel. The main landing gear legs feature wheel bogies decidedly angled inwards with each leg braced at two points along the underside of the fuselage. Power is supplied from a single Shvetsov ASh-62IR 9-cylinder, supercharged radial piston engine of 1,000 horsepower. Maximum speed is a reported 160 miles per hour with a listed range of 525 miles and a service ceiling equal to 14,750 feet.

Accommodations are generally made for a crew of one pilot but an observer/co-pilot is preferred. Cabin seating can hold an additional 12 passengers.

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Soviet / Russian Production

Beyond the typical prototype and evaluation models, the Soviet Union/Russia has produced the majority of the existing An-2 variants while Poland contributed as well. Produced types ranged from basic observation and reconnaissance aircraft to specialized floatplanes, artillery observation, mail carrier, cargo transport, VTOL-minded projects, survey and photographic platforms, fire bombers and firefighters, research and VIP transports. Agricultural versions have seen extended use in for both Poland and China.

Chinese Production

China has produced many versions of the An-2 beginning with the Fong Shou-2 ("Harvester-2"). This was the first An-2 built to agricultural specifications. The Nanchang Y-5 is a transport version since taken over in production by Harbin with 727 examples delivered. Nanchang Y-5II was an agricultural form seeing production number 229. Shijiazhuang Y-5A was a light passenger model based on the An-2T and produced in 114 examples. The agricultural derivative became the Shijiazhuang Y-5B based on the An-2 SKh. The PLAAF makes use of the Shijiazhuang Y-5B(T) para-drop model. The Nanchang Y-5C is an amphibious version of the Y-5A while the Nanchang Y-5D is a bomber crew trainer. The Nanchang Y-5K became a VIP passenger transport seating five.

Antonov An-2 Operators

Notable operators of the An-2 include (or have included) Afghanistan, China, Cuba, East Germany (and Germany proper), Egypt, Georgia, Hungary, Iraq, Laos, Lithuania, Macedonia, North Yemen, North Korea, Poland, South Korea, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine, Vietnam, Yemen and Yugoslavia.

Combat History

Despite its fragile appearance, the Antonov An-2 has seen its fair share of combat action. It was debuted in such a manner during the Korean War (1950-1953) and later in the Vietnam War - the latter by the North Vietnamese. Some An-2's were converted from their traditional crop dusting roles to become make-shift bombers in the Croatian War of Independence (1991).

Azerbaijan utilized a locally-modified form of the Soviet-era Antonov An-2 as an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in the kamikaze role. About sixty are in service (2020).

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July 2017 - A Fully-composite reworking of the classic An-2 biplane aircraft was debuted at MAKS 2017. The aircraft is designated as An-2TVS-2DTS. The aircraft recorded a first-flight in July 2017 and is powered by 1 x Honeywell TPE331-12 turboprop engine.

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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-2 (Colt) Single-Engine Biplane Utility Aircraft.
1 x Shvetsov ASh-62IR 9-cylinder supercharged radial piston engine developing 1,000 horsepower.
160 mph
258 kph | 139 kts
Max Speed
14,764 ft
4,500 m | 3 miles
Service Ceiling
525 miles
845 km | 456 nm
Operational Range
700 ft/min
213 m/min
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Antonov An-2 (Colt) Single-Engine Biplane Utility Aircraft.
40.7 ft
12.40 m
O/A Length
59.7 ft
(18.20 m)
O/A Width
13.5 ft
(4.10 m)
O/A Height
7,275 lb
(3,300 kg)
Empty Weight
12,125 lb
(5,500 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Antonov An-2 (Colt) Single-Engine Biplane Utility Aircraft .
Typically none. Some may be fitted with defensive machine guns. Crews may carry individual weapons while other An-2s modified for dropping bombs as needed.
Notable series variants as part of the Antonov An-2 (Colt) family line.
SKh-1 - Initial Series Designation
An-2F - Experimental Artillery Observation Platform; revised empennage with twin vertical fins; dorsal machine gun.
An-2L - Fire-Fighter Variant
An-2LV - Fire-Fighter Variant
An-2M - Agricultural Variant
An-2P (modifizirovannij) - Passenger Transport
An-2P (passazhirskij) - Fire-Fighter Variant
An-2S - Air Ambulance Variant
An-2V (An-4) - Floatplane Variant
An-2VA - Fire-Fighter Variant
An-2ZA - Atmospheric Research Platform
An-2E - Ekranoplan Conversion Model
An-3 - Sub-Variant of the An-2; fitted with turboprop; revised throughout.
An-6 "Meteo" - High-Altitude Weather Research Platform; based on the An-2 production model.
An-2 Geofiz (An-2Geo) - Polish Geophysical Variant.
An-2D5 - Polish VIP Transport; seating for 5.
An-2D6 - Polish VIP Transport; seating for 6.
An-2T - Polish An-2 Production Model (initial version).
An-2M (An-2W) - Polish An-2V floatplane.
An-2P - Polish passenger transport; seating for 12 passengers.
An-2P Photo - Polish Photo Reconnaissance Platform.
An-2PK - Polish VIP Transport; seating for 5; cold weather modifications.
An-2PF - Polish Photo Reconnaissance Platform.
An-2PR (An-2PRTV) - Polish Television Relay Variant.
An-2R - Polish Agricultural Variant
An-2S - Polish Air Ambulance; seating for 6 passengers.
An-2TD - Polish Paratrooper Variant; seating for 12 passengers.
An-2TP - Polish Passenger / Cargo Transport; based on the An-2TD.
An-2TPS - Polish Air Ambulance based on the An-2TP.
An-2TVS-2MS - Metal-based construction; debuting in 2011; 25 examples completed.
An-2TVS-2DTS - All-composite reworking of the An-2TVS-2MS variant; debuted at MAKS 2017.
An-3M - Polish Prototype; turboprop powered; fitted with TWD-20 engine.
Lala-1 - Polish Experimental Variant; fitted with turbofan in empennage.
Y-5 - Chinese designation of An-2 production model.
Y-5A - Chinese designation of large-scale production An-2 for passenger duty.
Y-5B - Chinese Designation for improved An-2; new powerplant; revised avionics suite.
Y-5C - Floatplane Amphibious Variant; based on the Y-5A production model.
Y-5D - Bomber Crew Trainer Variant
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Antonov An-2 (Colt). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 18,000 Units

Contractor(s): Antonov - Soviet Union / WSK PZL-Mielec - Poland / Shijiazhuang - China
National flag of Afghanistan National flag of Albania National flag of Angola National flag of Azerbaijan National flag of Belarus National flag of Bulgaria National flag of China National flag of Croatia National flag of Cuba National flag of Czechia National flag of Egypt National flag of Estonia National flag of Georgia National flag of modern Germany National flag of East Germany National flag of Hungary National flag of Iraq National flag of Kyrgyzstan National flag of Latvia National flag of Lithuania National flag of Macedonia National flag of Mongolia National flag of Nicaragua National flag of North Korea National flag of Poland National flag of Romania National flag of Russia National flag of Serbia National flag of South Korea National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Sudan National flag of Somalia National flag of Syria National flag of Tajikistan National flag of Tanzania National flag of Turkey National flag of Turkmenistan National flag of Tunisia National flag of Ukraine National flag of Uzbekistan National flag of Vietnam National flag of Yemen National flag of Yugoslavia

[ Afghanistan; Albania; Angola; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Bulgaria; Cambodia; China; Croatia; Cuba; Czechoslovakia; East Germany; Egypt; Estonia; Georgia; Germany; Hungary; Iraq; Kyrgyzstan; Laos; Latvia; Lithuania; Macedonia; Mali; Moldova; Mongolia; Nicaragua; North Yemen; North Korea; North Vietnam; Poland; South Korea; Romania; Russia; Serbia; Somalia; Soviet Union; Sudan; Syria; Tajikistan; Tanzania; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; Uzbekistan; Vietnam; Yemen; Yugoslavia ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (160mph).

Graph Average of 150 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
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Image of the Antonov An-2 (Colt)
Image from the United States Department of Defense DVIDS imagery database.
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Image of the Antonov An-2 (Colt)
Front left side view of the Antonov An-2 Colt at rest; note armed Russian soldier; color
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Image of the Antonov An-2 (Colt)
Close-up detail view of the forward fuselage of an Antonov An-2 Colt biplane; color
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Image of the Antonov An-2 (Colt)
Front view of an Antonov An-2 Colt biplane at rest; color
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Image of the Antonov An-2 (Colt)
Front left side view of an Antonov An-2 Colt biplane at rest; color
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Image of the Antonov An-2 (Colt)
Close-up view of an Antonov An-2 Colt biplane at rest; note open cabin door at right
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Image of the Antonov An-2 (Colt)
Front view of the Antonov An-2 Colt biplane; note size as compared to vehicle

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
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-2 (Colt) Single-Engine Biplane Utility Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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