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An-12 CUB - Service

The aircraft represents an outstanding example of simplicity in management, unpretentiousness in operation, expediency of creation. An-12 rightfully earned world fame. For all the time, more than 30 different modifications of this machine have been created. It was actively used for military purposes, during emergency situations, for the transfer of military equipment and personnel of the armed forces, as well as for cargo transportation, rescue and search for crews of manned aircraft and spacecraft, search for space objects, people in distress. This aircraft has had a huge impact on the development of the domestic air force.

The Antonov An-12 proved to be a very versatile transport aircraft. It was produced in large numbers and is still in extensive use both with Air Forces of the CIS and commercial operators. Its sturdy construction and its rear loading ramp gives the An-12 the capacity to operate in remote areas or from poorly equiped airfields. In its importance as a crago aircraft in the CIS, it comes only second to the Ilyushin Il-76 jet. Therefore, the An-12 can be observed on Western European and Middle Eastern airports quite frequently.

Besides the standard tranport version, several specialised versions were developed. While the Russian Airforce still maintains a number of An-12 holding electronic sensing and counter measures equipment, other An-12 were used to track weather patterns.

The Antonov-70 is a new propfan powered medium-size wide-body short take-off and landing transport aircraft. The An-70 belongs to a new class of short takeoff and landing tactical military transports. Designed a replacement for the An-12 'Cub', the An-70 is designed and built in Ukraine, and thus there were questions as to whether it could serve as a replacement for Russian An-12 aircraft.

In the mid-1990s large numbers of the Cub were still in service with the CIS air force. However, a decade later most had been withdrawn from service, given the political complexities of having Russian military aircraft supported by a Ukrainian enterprise.

The An-12 was delivered to Afghanistan, Algeria, China, Czechoslovakia, Ethiopia, India, Iraq, Jordan, Malaysia, Poland and Yugoslavia. They were used in local wars and armed conflicts in virtually all regions of the world.

Thanks to its merits, as well as to the policy of the USSR on rendering assistance to numerous friendly regimes, the AN-12 was on the front lines of the "struggle for a better future" and took part in a multitude of conflicts and wars. Probably the first in the combat situation were the An-12 Indian Air Force. In October 1962, armed clashes occurred on the disputed sections of the Indo-Chinese border in the Himalayas. Chinese troops surrounded a number of Indian highland strongholds. To transport ammunition and food there, military transport planes, including An-12, were brought in. A significant part of all necessary was dropped on parachutes, while the cargo losses amounted to only 5% (in the mountains!). The rest was delivered by the "twelfth" to the nearest air base, from where it was transferred to mountain areas by light aircraft.

In December 1965 - January 1966, during the conflict with Pakistan in the province of Kashmir, the Indian An-12 were involved in the transportation of troops and cargoes to the zone of combat operations and the evacuation of the wounded. However, already during the war with Pakistan in December 1971, the Indians greatly diversified their combat "repertoire." So, on 12 January, the An-12 together with the C-119 threw an airborne assault in the Dhaka area as part of one battalion, cutting the supply routes to the garrison of the city. At the same time, the An-12 was used as a night bomber. There are several night raids on objects in West Pakistan, during which up to 16 (!) Tons of air bombs were taken aboard. One An-12 was intercepted by Mirage, but managed to escape from danger. The successful application of the An-12 in this capacity prompted the specialists of the Antonov Design Bureau to think of creating a special bombing version of the aircraft.

The combat biography of the Indian "twelfth" continued at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s, when the country was drawn into the war with the "Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam" detachments in the northern part of Sri Lanka. An-12 carried out transportation and in view of the weak air defense "Tigers ..." no losses. The Sri Lanka Air Force also had two Y-8s. using them as patrols for flights over the Polk strait, through which the "Tigers ..." smuggled weapons, ammunition and people. Discovering the violators, the crews called the border patrol boats. The reason for using Y-8 in such an unusual role was the absence in the Sri Lanka Air Force of other aircraft capable of holding in the air for a long time.

During the period 1962-1967, Egyptian troops took part in the civil war in Yemen. Their supply was carried out by the "twelfth", both Arabic and Soviet. During the "six-day war" with Israel on June 6, 1967, the Egyptians lost on the ground as a result of a raid of no less than eight An-12. In the October 1973 war, the Egyptian "twelfth" carried out only transportation, including armaments from the USSR. UN troops in this region were also transported to the Egyptian "Anakh", and the Polish contingent arrived on its own An-12.

The Iraqi "twelfths" had a lot of different work to do: transportation during the endless battles with Kurds in the 60s and 70s, flights for weapons to other countries during the war with Iran in 1980-1988, application as a marine reconnaissance aircraft, the tanker (finalized by the Iraqis). An-12, finding in the Persian Gulf enemy ships, directed them to the Mirazhi F.1 and MiG-23BN equipped for refueling in the air. So, on 12.08.1986 several "Mirages", poles from the An-12 fuel supplies, struck at oil objects of Fr. Sirri and three Iranian courts. During Operation Desert Storm, the flights of the Iraqi An-12 were not recorded. They were not among the planes that flew to Iran. Nevertheless, two of them were destroyed on the ground by laser-guided bombs during the British fleet "Bukanirs" on February 27, 1992.

A significant number of combat sorties carried out An-12 on the African continent. In Sudan, the government Air Force used these aircraft in the civil war in the south of the country in the 1970s. In Algeria in the mid-80's. An-12 participated in the conflict of government troops with the detachments of the front "Polisario". Between 1975 and the late 1980s, Cuban and Soviet An-12 transported military cargo to Angola. In the critical days of autumn 1975, a pair of "twelfth" delivered ammunition and instructors from Cuba, which helped to repel the attack of South Africans on Luanda. Carrying out transportation inside the country, the An-12 often fell under the bombardment of Unita detachments, but they had no losses. The An-12 of the Ethiopian Air Force was used to repel Somalia's aggression in 1977, as well as against separatists in Eritrea and in a number of inland provinces of the country.

On 18.01.1984, one An-12 was destroyed on the ground when the government airfield attacked the Eritreans.

For a long time, the An-12 formed the basis of the PTS fleet of the Warsaw Treaty countries. These machines have an important role in a number of large-scale joint exercises of the bloc. During the maneuvers of the Dvina about 200 "twelfths" 8000 airborne troops with combat equipment were thrown out in just 22 minutes.

The combat biography of the Soviet An-12 began with the delivery of military assistance to numerous "friends of the USSR," and often directly into the war zone. So. after the "six-day war" for the summer-autumn of 1967, the Soviet An-12 and An-22 delivered combat aircraft MiG-17 , MiG-21 , and Su-7 to Egypt and Syria (according to some sources, up to 150 copies). During the 1973 war, in the face of the threat posed by Israeli fighter jets, the Twelfths again participated in an air bridge to transfer aircraft and tanks to the Middle East. One squadron An-12PPfrom Siauliai with Arabic identification signs on board covered the raids of Syrian strike aircraft on the enemy "Hok" anti-aircraft missile system. During the civil war in Nigeria in 1967-1970, the government of this country also purchased combat aircraft in the USSR. For 86 flights, Soviet An-12 delivered 41 MiG-17, 4 MiG-15UTI and necessary spare parts there.

An important role was played by the Soviet An-12 in August 1968 during the liquidation of an attempt at a counter-revolutionary coup in Czechoslovakia. The first vehicles with paratroopers landed at the Prague airport Ruzyne, after the lightning capture of which troops rushed to the capital. The entire vanguard of Soviet troops, including combat and transport equipment, heavy weapons, was delivered to Prague by An-12. The Czechoslovak resistance army did not render, there were no losses in the aircraft.

Perhaps the most widespread was the An-12 in Afghanistan. Both Soviet and Afghan pilots flew at them. The main tasks were: the delivery of people and cargo from the Union and back, as well as the transportation of troops inside the country. The notorious "Black Tulip" is also An-12. "The Twelfth" proved to be indispensable in Afghan conditions: unlike the IL-76, they could land on high-mountain grounds. Another important quality of the aircraft, manifested in Afghanistan, was its survivability. In the press, there have been times when the "twelfth", having received hundreds of holes as a result of the bombardment of the airfield, having damaged systems and wounded crew members, successfully took off and reached their bases.

The losses of the An-12 in this war are connected with the use of portable Stinger SAM systems. With their help, the Mujahideen managed to bring down several AN-12s. There are cases of 30.09.1980 (45 people were killed), 25.04.1983, 11.11.1984, presumably 02.09.1987 (6 people were killed). Already after the withdrawal of Soviet troops, in mid-1989 the Najibullah government used the An-12 to supply troops surrounded in Jalalabad. Here, these aircraft were also used as bombers. Flying at a height unattainable for the Stingers, they performed carpet bombing. After 1992, the park of the Afghan An-12 was divided between the military-political groups that seized power. Belonging to one of them An-12, due to difficult weather conditions, on 10 February 1993 landed in Termez (Uzbekistan). When landing, the aircraft crashed,

When the drought struck Ethiopia in the early 1980s, Soviet An-12s came to their aid. A detachment of 12 aircraft owned by Aeroflot, since 1984, has been delivering food and transporting soldiers of government troops to combat areas. Even after the collapse of the USSR, some An-12s remained abroad. For example, in Angola until recently they flew under the Russian flag. Flights were carried out under the auspices of the United Nations. Despite the agreement signed with Unita to end the war, the militants of this organization sometimes fired airplanes. On 26 April 1993 one of the twelfth was shot down, one crew member was killed, six were wounded. The plane made an emergency landing and was not restored any more. Another An-12 was bombarded in the sky of Angola on 19 July 1994, an air mechanic was slightly injured.

An-12 took part in the civil war in Yugoslavia, playing a significant role in the evacuation of the federal army from Bosnia, Slovenia and Croatia. The Russian contingent in the UN forces in this region also uses the AN-12.

In the Air Force of almost all countries formed in the territory of the former USSR, there are AN-12. The use of these aircraft in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict is known. Two Ukrainian An-12s in October 1993 delivered humanitarian aid to Georgian refugees and evacuated them from the battle area, and they repeatedly fired. Most recently, the "twelfth" was used in the mass deployment of Russian troops in Chechnya in December 1994. Correspondents of the central newspapers noted a "significant accumulation" of these planes at the Mozdok airfield.

In late 2000 the Government of India, the Aviation Complex after Ilyushin and the JSC "Irkutsk Aviation Industrial Association" signed an agreement stipulating development and production run of a multi-role transport aircraft IL-214T of 15-20 ton or 82 paratroopers load capacity and in its passenger version IL-214-100, for the capability of transportation of 100 passengers. As a prototype of the new airplane, a military transport project of IL-214 aircraft was selected, the one that is being examined by the Air Force of Russia as a replacement for the obsolete Antonov An-12 as well as An-26. In India, the new aircraft is proposed to replace 110 An-32 transport aircraft.

According to information from open sources, by 2015 the Armed Forces of Russia had up to 60 An-12 (flying models) and 46 aircraft in storage. Curiously for an aircraft once so widely deployed, their absence does not seem to be notably regretted.

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