Antonov An-22 Antei (
) (NATO reporting name
") was the world's largest aircraft, until
the advent of American C-5 Galaxy
later the Soviet An-124
. Powered by 4
, the design remains the world's largest
turboprop-powered aircraft. It first appeared outside the Soviet Union at
the 1965 Paris Air
Design and development
In the late 1950s the Soviet Union had a requirement for a large
military transport aircraft to supplement the Antonov An-8
then entering service. Originally known
as the the An-20 it was a conventional multi-engined high-wing
design. In the early 1960s the company produced a wooden mock up at
the company wokshops at Kiev of what was designated the Model 100.
The prototype now designated the An-22 was rolled out 18 August
1964 and first flew on 27 February 1965. The prototype was
given the name Antheus and after four-months
of test flying was displayed at the 1965 Paris Air Show.
Production aircraft were built at the State
Aircraft Factory in Tashkent and the first delivery was made to the
Air Transport Wing at Ivanova Airbase in 1969.
The aircraft was designed as a strategic airlifter
, designed specifically
to expand the capability of the airborne
to land with their then-new BMD-1
armoured vehicles. The An-22 cargo hold can accommodate four of
these as opposed to one in the An-12
It also has the capability to takeoff from austere, unpaved and
short airstrips, allowing airborne troops to perform air-landing operations
. This is achieved
by four pairs of contra-rotating propellers
similar to those on the Tupolev
. The engines generate significant thrust, and produce a
slipstream over the wings and large double-slotted flap
. The landing
is ruggedized for rough airstrips, and, in early versions,
tire pressures could be adjusted in flight for optimum landing
performance, although that feature was removed in later
The An-22 follows traditional cargo transport design with a
high-mounted wing allowing a cavernous cargo space of 33m in length
and a usable volume of 639m³. The forward fuselage is fully
pressurized and provides space for 5 to 8 crew and up to 28
passengers, but the cargo space is pressurized to only 3.55 PSI /
0.245 bar allowing for a lighter airframe. A door equipped pressure
bulkhead is located at frame 14, separating the cargo attendant's
compartment from the main cargo compartment. This allows the rear
cargo doors to be opened during flight for paratroops and equipment
drop. Like the An-12, the aircraft has a circular fuselage section.
The An-22 has set a number of payload and payload-to-height world
The An-22 has the general appearance of an enlarged version of the
earlier Antonov An-12
except that it
is fitted with a twin tail
. This gives the
An-22 better engine-out performance, and reduces height
restrictions for hangars. Also of note are large anti-flutter
masses on the top of each tail.
Only one production variant was built, the standard An-22.
Prototypes, such as the one first featured at
the 1965 Paris Air Show had fully-glazed noses that lacked the nose mounted
radar of production models.
aircraft had the radar mounted below the right wheel well fairing,
forward of the wheels. Antonov designated a variant with a modified
electrical system and an additional augmented flight control system
the An-22A but the designation was not used by the military.
The An-22 was originally built for the Soviet Air Force
, the state airline. The conversion from
in the Air Force begun in July 1974.
Mginsk Red Banner air transport aviation division (airbase Migalovo) was one of
the units which had its three regiments entirely equipped with the
Another unit that operated it was the 566th
'Solnechnogorsk' Military Transport Aviation Regiment, which used
the An-22 from 1970 to 1987.
The An-22s from Migalovo were used for the initial insertion of the
troops in to Kabul, Kandahar and Bagram
during the 1979 Soviet war in
. In 1980 one An-22 crashed at Vnukovo
International Airport while two more crashed at Migalovo in 1992 and
In 1984 the military aircraft were used to deliver Mi-8
helicopters to Ethiopia during drought relief
the aircraft of the 8th air transport aviation regiment from
Migalovo were used to deliver materials for the containment of the
During 1987 the aircraft were used to deliver military equipment to
Angola. A year later the military An-22s were used to deliver
15,000 tons and 1,000 personnel in aid of the relief of earthquake
disaster in Armenia.
aircraft were often seen at the Le Bourget Air Show, and in 1988 delivered an engine from An-124 to the Farnborough Airshow.
An-22s were used to deliver internal security troops to many ethnic
regional conflicts during and after the break up of the Soviet
Union, and during the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Germany,
notably airlifting the 104th Guards Airborne Division. In 1995 they
delivered the Russian peacekeeping contingent from the 98th
airborne division to Bosnia - Herzegovina during the Bosnian War
Approximately 45 remained in service by the mid-1990s, mostly with
the Russian Air Force, but these are slowly being replaced by the
bigger turbofan-powered Antonov
. The remaining An-22s appear to be operated by an
independent military transport aviation squadron at Tver
(Migalovo). Currently one An-22 is in use for civilian cargo duties
with Antonov Airlines
A proposed civil airliner version capable of seating 724 passengers
on upper and lower decks was not built. (For comparison, a typical
can carry 400-500
there had been 8 accidents with a total of 83 fatalities.
The aircraft is also used in special operations.
An-22 at Gostomel, Ukraine
- Prototypes built at Kiev-Svyatoshino with glass nose, three
- Initial production variant with external start system, 37 built
- Improved variant with air-start capability, modified electrical
system, and updated radio and navigation equipment, 28 built at
The Antonov design bureau retained the the three prototype aircraft
for use as special cargo transports. Two aircraft were modified to
carry An-124 wings above the fuselage.
In August 2006
a single Antonov An-22 aircraft
remains in airline
service with Antonov Airlines
- , now
Image:Antonow An-22 Cockpit.jpg|CockpitImage:Antonow An-22
Navigator Cockpit.jpg|Navigator's stationImage:Antonow An-22
Navigator Cockpit 2.jpg|Navigator's instrumentsImage:Antonow An-22
Loading bay.jpg|Cargo bay looking to rearImage:Antonov An-22 Cabin
24.06.07R.jpg|Cargo bay looking forwardImage:Antonov An-22
24.06.07R.jpg|An-22 displayed at Technikmuseum Speyer,
- Flight International, 3-9 October
- Pyotr Butowski, 'Air Power Analysis - Russian Federation Part
2' in International Air Power Review, Volume 13, Summer 2004,
AIRtime Publishing Inc., Norwalk, CT.