Design and development
The first prototype flew in March 1957. Over 900 had been built, in both military and civilian versions, before production finally ended in 1973. The An-12BP entered Soviet military service in 1959. In terms of configuration, size and capability, the aircraft is similar to the United States-built Lockheed C-130 Hercules. Military Soviet planes have a defensive tail gun turret.
On January 12, 2009, the United Arab Emirates banned the AN-12 from flying over their airspace following runway incursions at Sharjah International Airport and the GCAA has advised operators to stop using the aircraft.
See also: Shaanxi Y-8
In the 1960s, China purchased several An-12 aircraft from the Soviet Union, along with license to assemble the aircraft locally. However, due to the Sino-Soviet split, the Soviet Union withdrew its technical assistance. It wasn't until 1974, when the first Chinese-assembled An-12 had its maiden flight. The Xi'an Aircraft Company and Xi'an Aircraft Design Institute worked to reverse engineer the An-12 for local production.
By 1981, the Chinese copy version of An-12, named Yun-8 (Y-8) entered serial production. Since then, the Y-8 has become one of China's most popular military and civilian transport/cargo aircraft, with many variants produced and exported. Although the An-12 is no longer made in Russia or Ukraine, the Chinese Y-8 continues to be upgraded and produced. The latest Y-8-F600 is a joint venture between Shaanxi Aircraft Company, Antonov Aeronautical Scientific Technical Complex (ASTC), and Pratt & Whitney Canada. The Y-8-F600 has redesigned fuselage, western avionics, PW150B turboprop engine with an R-408 propeller system, and 2-man glass cockpit.
An-12B : Civilian transport version.
An-12BP : Military transport version.
An-12 Cub-A : Electronic intelligence version.
An-12 Cub-B : Electronic intelligence version.
An-12 Cub-C : Electronic countermeasures version.
Currently the An-12 is very popular with cargo operators, especially those in the CIS, Africa and the Indian subcontinent.
An-12 operators (military operators in red, civil operators in green, and operators for both military and civil purposes in blue)In August 2006 a total of 179 Antonov An-12 aircraft remain in airline service. Major operators include: Air Guinee (4), Alada (5), British Gulf International Airlines (7), Avial Aviation (4), Heli Air Service (4), Scorpion Air (4), Tiramavia (4), Aerovis Airlines (5), Veteran Airlines (4), KNAAPO (5), Vega Airlines (6) ATRAN Cargo Airlines (4) and Volare Airlines (6). Some 77 other airlines operate smaller numbers of the type.
Balkan Bulgarian Airlines
People's Republic of China
Civil Aviation Administration of China; see also Shaanxi Y-8
Ghana Airways The sole An-12 was delivered in October 1961, registered as 9G-AZZ. Withdrawn from use in 1962 and returned to Soviet Union in 1963.
ATRAN Cargo Airlines
United Arab Emirates
British Gulf International Airlines
An Egyptian An-12 in Italy (1977)
YuAF An-12. Afghanistan
The Afghan Air Force operated 12 from 1981 through 2001.
Algerian Air Force
Bangladesh Air Force operated from 1973 to 1980s, now all retired
Belarus Air Force
People's Liberation Army Air Force
People's Liberation Army Navy Air Force
Czech Air Force
Czechoslovakian Air Force : Czechoslovakia's fleet numbering two was passed to the Czech Republic upon split with Slovakia. All CzAF An-12s were phased-out of active service in the 1990s.
Egyptian Air Force
Ethiopian Air Force
The Indian Air Force inducted the first of these aircraft in 1961, when it raised No.44 Squadron "The Himalayan Geese". Six of these aircraft soon took part in airlifting army reinforcements during the 62 War to Ladakh. Subsequently the An-12 was used to raise No.25 Squadron. The An-12s were also used as Heavy bombers during the 71 War. All IAF An-12s were phased-out of active service in the 1990s. One of them is preserved at the IAF museum in Palam, New Delhi.
Indonesian Air Force
Iraqi Air Force
Myanmar AIr Force
Polish Air Force used 2 An-12B from 1966 until 1977 (crashed) and 1995
Russian Air Force
Russian Naval Aviation
The Soviet fleet was dispersed among many of the Soviet Union's successor states.
Soviet Air Force
Soviet Naval Aviation
Sudanese Air Force
Syrian Air Force
Ukrainian Air Force
Ukrainian Naval Aviation
Yemen Air Force
SFR Yugoslav Air Force