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An-26 CURL

Twin-engine An-26 was used as a bomber even more often than the larger An-12. The first to "smell gunpowder" had the An-26 of the Ethiopian Air Force. In July 1977, the "twenty-six" took part in repelling the aggression of Somali troops. After the Ethiopian fighters gained dominance in the air, in addition to supplying their units, the Ana was used to bomb enemy positions. In subsequent years, Ethiopian An-26s were often used against various insurgent groups and separatists within the country.

From 1976 to 1984, 24 An-26 aircraft were delivered to Angola. During the continuous civil war, "transporters" were actively used as bombers. Mostly Cuban crews flew to bomb the positions of the UNITA anti-government group. In particularly tense moments, the Cubans had to perform 4-6 combat sorties a day. Several Angolan vehicles were lost during takeoff and landing, as well as during the shelling of airfields.

In the first half of the 1980s, eight An-26s were purchased by Mozambique, which had also been in a civil war for a long time. There was also a lot of work here for the Twenty-sixth, who acted as bombers.

In 1977, 16 An-26s were given to the Peruvian military. They were very interested in the impact capabilities of vehicles. In the presence of specialists from the USSR in 1979, experimental discharges of tanks filled with water were carried out. Shortly afterwards, in 1981, the Peruvian An-26 crews put the skills gained from these experiments into practice during the armed conflict with Ecuador. The Peruvians loaded 16 barrels of napalm on a conveyor installed in the cargo compartment of the An-26 and then very effectively used them to destroy enemy positions in the hard-to-reach jungle. In the future, similarly, the An-26 acted against the ultra-leftist terrorist group "Sendero Luminoso".

The next Latin American buyer of the An-26 was Nicaragua. From 1982 to 1985, this country received 5 "twenty-six". They were actively used for reconnaissance and bombing of areas of concentration of anti-government "contra".

The Vietnamese An-26, in addition to delivering cargo to ensure the actions of the military contingent in Cambodia, flew to reconnoiter and bomb the camp and detachments of Polpotivtsi hiding in the jungle. An-26s of various nationalities were used to bomb during the aforementioned "Great African War", which raged in the late 1990s and early 2000s in the Democratic Republic of the Congo involving troops from Rwanda, Uganda, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Angola.

From 2011 to 2012, international observers recorded numerous cases of the An-26 being used as a bomber in South Sudan. The planes of the Sudanese government air force, operating at altitudes of more than 4,000 meters, made several dozen combat sorties. Sudanese planes involved in the raids have reportedly been refined to make optimal use of them as bombers. The bombs were loaded into the cargo compartment and dropped through the cargo hatch in the tail of the aircraft. In addition to regular aviation ammunition, artisanal bombs equipped with ammonium nitrate and incendiary liquids were widely used.

The attacks were carried out mainly on settlements and South Sudanese troops in the Southern Kordofan area. International observers have repeatedly documented bombings of refugee camps and purely civilian facilities, but each time the Khartoum authorities denied it. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has been charged with numerous war crimes. In 2008, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir on charges of genocide and ethnic cleansing during the fighting in Darfur. Thus, al-Bashir became the first current head of state to be indicted by an international justice body.

Sudanese An-26 raids ceased after S-125 SAMs delivered from Uganda were deployed in South Sudan. Uganda purchased four S-125 SAMs and 300 SAMs in Ukraine in 2008.

It doesn't take long to turn a military transport aircraft into a bomber: special pylons are attached to it, thanks to which the aircraft can take four bombs weighing from 50 to 500 kilograms. Testing the use of bomb weapons on the An-26 in the Soviet Air Force was introduced more than 40 years ago.

The bombing of the An-26 is performed in the altitude range of 1200-3000 meters, at a speed of 350 kilometers per hour. To get an excellent score, the bomb must fall into a circle with a diameter of 63 meters. Another exercise involves training bombing from a height of 500-900 meters on a group of targets that mimic an enemy tank column. In both cases, NKPB-7 sights are used. Defeating targets with this fairly old sight does not require the use of radar and allows you to perform a combat mission at night as hidden as possible.

Ukraine had converted similar An-26s to bomber configuration in May 2014, using fuselage-mounted pylons and BDZ-34 bomb racks to carry a similar weapon load, and installing an NKPB-7 bombsight to allow more accurate delivery.

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