Antonov An-26

An-26 of the Serbian Air Force
Role Transport aircraft
National origin Soviet Union (Ukraine)
Design group Antonov
First flight 21 May 1969[1]
Status Operational
Primary users Soviet Air Force
Pakistan Air Force

Vietnamese Air Force

Produced 1969–1986
Number built 1,403
Developed from Antonov An-24
Variants Antonov An-32

The Antonov An-26 (NATO reporting name: Curl) is a twin-engined turboprop civilian and military transport aircraft, designed and produced in the Soviet Union from 1969 to 1985.[1]


After successful operations of the An-24T tactical transport in austere locations, interest in a version with a retractable cargo ramp increased. Initial studies for the retractable ramp were carried out as part of the projected An-40 medium transport. When given the go-ahead for the An-26 in March 1968 the Antonov OKB adapted the ramp design of the An-40 to the An-24 fuselage, thus was born the An-26. Particular attention was given to the military mission and the majority of early An-26 production was delivered to the VTA (voyenno-transportnoy aviatsii).[1]

Using the majority of the An-24 airframe, with its high-set cantilevered wings, twin turboprops and stalky main undercarriage, the An-26 included military equipment, such as tip-up paratroop canvas seats, overhead traveling hoist, bulged observation windows and parachute static line attachment cables. The An-26 made its public debut at the 27th Paris Air Show at Le Bourget where the second prototype, CCCP-26184 (c/n00202), was shown in the static aircraft park.

The An-26 is also manufactured without a license agreement[1] in China by Xian Aircraft Factory as the Y-14, later changed to be included in the Xian Y7 series.[1]

Total production

Total Production[2] 1986 1985 1984 1983 1982 1981 1980 1979 1978 1977 1976 1975 1974 1973 1972 1971 1970 1969

Operational history

The An-26 has a secondary bomber role with underwing bomb racks. In the bombing role it was extensively used by the Sudanese Air Force during the Second Sudanese Civil War and the War in Darfur.[3] Also Russian Forces train with the An-26 as a bomber.[4]


An-26 cargo cabin
"Curl-A" : Twin-engine tactical transport aircraft.[1]
Convertible passenger/cargo aircraft modified from 'An-26' aircraft at the Kiev plant from 1999.[1]
An-26 Nel'mo
An arctic surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft retrofitted with the Nel'mo equipment.[1]
An-26 Pogoda
(Weather) Another aircraft for weather control duties, similar to the 'An-26 Tsiklon ', with a simplified equipment test lab.[1]
An-26 Polyot
(Flight) A single aircraft retrofitted with the purpose of research of unified air traffic control and monitoring system throughout the USSR, with a comprehensive navigation test lab including precision compasses and Doppler speed/shift sensors.[1]
An-26 Sfera
(Sphere) A single production aircraft built as laboratory for atmospheric research.[1]
An-26 Shtabnoy
(Shtab: or Headquarters) some 'An-26's delivered to the Soviet and DDR air forces for use as staff transports/mobile command posts.[1]
An-26 Vita
(Life) A single mobile operating room, surgery and intensive care unit ('25 Blue', c/n5406), for the Ukrainian Air Force.[1]
A one-off assault transport prototype with higher performance due to removal of some military equipment.[1]
(Avtomatizeerovannaya Sistema Lyotnovo Kontrolya – automated flight control and monitoring system) : A modern flight control and monitoring system equipped with automatic calibration and navigation system. Recognizable by the distinctive pod low on the forward fuselage side.[1]
A civil cargo version equipped with roller gangs which can be swung up against the cabin walls when not in use. It was also equipped with two ZMDB Progress (Ivchyenko) Al-24VT turboprop power plants to deliver higher thrust.[1]
'Mobile Hospital' : The prototype 'An-26B' retrofitted as a mobile civilian emergency hospital.[1]
An-26B Tsiklon
(Cyclone) A weather research/control and cloud-seeding aircraft for the Central Aerologic Laboratory. This aircraft was used for rain induction and protection using cloud-seeding chemicals dropped from slab sided pods hung from pylons.[1]
Convertible passenger/cargo aircraft modified from 'An-26B' aircraft at the Kiev plant from 1999.[1]
Alternative designation for the 'An-26L'.[1]
Alternative designation of the 'An-26RL' Arctic surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft.[1]
(Dal'niy – long-range) An extended range version with extra fuel in wing tanks and additional external tanks attached to the airframe of the fuselage. One aircraft ('21 Yellow', c/n 13806) was retrofitted and delivered, but no further orders were forthcoming.[1]
An-26K Kaira
(Great Auk) A single An-26 aircraft converted to a Kaira test airframe for the development of airborne LASER guided systems.[1]
An-26K Kaplya
(Drop [of liquid]) After completion of the LASER designator trials the 'An-26K Kaira' was retrofitted to search or optically guided weapons as the navigation systems. During a night test flight at low-level, in March 1989, the An-26K Kaplya suffered a massive bird strike, which consequently destroyed the windshield and injured the pilot, who involuntarily downed the aircraft into the Azov Sea.[1]
(Kontrol'no-Poverochnaya Apparatura – Testing and calibration equipment) : A navigation aids inspecting aircraft with comprehensive navigation equipment and calibration equipment.[1]
A single 'An-26', (14 Orange, c/n 00607), used at Sperenberg Airfield near Berlin, for airfield and NAVAID calibration.[1]
(Letayuschaya Laboratoriya – Protivolodochnoy Oborony – ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) testbed) : A single 'An-26A' aircraft, (c/n 0901), retrofitted and modified to accommodate range of sophisticated laboratory for surveillance systems, detecting and tracking stealthy nuclear submarines.[1]
Fire-fighting version, for delivery of field equipment and para-dropping fire-fighters in lieu of water-bombing (any more info?).[1]
An-26M Spasatel
(rescue worker) Flying hospital with an emergency surgery facility and consultation conference room.[1]
(Protivopozharnyy – fire-fighting) : Aircraft fire engine fighter, retrofitted with water lifting vessels in pods either side of the lower fuselage.[1]
An-26P Prozhektor
(Projector or Searchlight) A single conversion of an An-26 as a guided missile system airframe.[1]
(RadioElektronnoye Protivodeystviye – ECM (Electronic Counter-Measures) [aircraft]) : Electronic Counter-Measures aircraft fitted with active jammers in cylindrical pods on either side of the lower fuselage sides, as well as chaff and I/R flares for self-defense.[1]
(Razvedchik Ledovyy – An arctic surveillance, reconnaissance and monitoring) : An arctic surveillance, reconnaissance and monitoring aircraft used to monitor the icebergs and ice formations at arctic circle fitted with SLAR (Sideways Looking Airborne Radar) in long pods on either side of the lower fuselage, extra fuel in a cargo hold fuel tank, provision for surveyors and radar operators.[1]
Alternative unit designation of the 'An-26RT' ELINT(ELectronic INTelligence) aircraft.[1]
"Curl-B": (First use of the designation) A basic designation for a series of ELINT aircraft fitted with a wide range of electro-magnetic surveillance equipment. At least one aircraft, (tactical code '152'), retrofitted with the Tarahn (Ramming Attack) ELINT suite for use in Afghanistan.[1]
(ReTranslyator – Interpreter -Translator): (Substitute of designation) Battlefield communications relay aircraft, fitted with powerful Inzheer (Fig) radio relay system, for connecting forward units to headquarters units.[1]
Alternative unit designation of the 'An-26RT' ELINT aircraft.[1]
(Salon – [VIP] Lounge) : A new VIP Lounge aircraft for the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense delivered about 1997.[1]
(Shturmanskiy – Navigator) : Navigator trainer for the VVS, 36 built at Kiev.[1]
A proposed jet powered variant of the An-26.

Non-USSR /-Ukrainian versions

DDR An-26SM "369" later German Air Force "52+09" at Museum Berlin-Gatow
One aircraft modified for NAVAID calibration and flight monitoring for the East German Air Force and transferred to the post-unification German Air Force.[1]
One aircraft modified for as an ELINT aircraft for the East German Air Force and transferred to the post-unification German Air Force.[1]
East German special duties aircraft.[1]
Unofficial East German designation for 'An-26's' operated by Transportfliegerstaffel 24 (transport squadron 24).[1]
Czechoslovakian ELINT conversion of one aircraft for ELINT duties.[1]
Xian Y-7H
Military transport version. Chinese production version.[1]
Xian Y-14
Initial designation of the 'AN-26' copy, later changed to 'Y-7H' (Hao – cargo).[1]


Military operators

Military An-26 operators.
Russian An-26 intercepted by a British Typhoon over the Baltics in July 2015
Ukrainian An-26
Slovak Air Force An-26 at Farnborough Airshow, 2008
 Cape Verde
 Democratic Republic of the Congo
Hungarian Air Force Antonov An-26 departs RIAT at RAF Fairford, England

1 aircraft stored from 2005 to 2014 will resume service in the spring of 2016.[12]


Former Military operators

An-26 of the Czech Air Force
 Republic of the Congo
 East Germany
An-26 of the Lithuanian Air Force (now retired)
 North Yemen
An-26 of the Polish Air Force (Operated before 2009, now retired)
 Soviet Union
 United States

Civil operators

MIAT Antonov AN-26, used for domestic transportation, at Chinggis Khaan International Airport
AN-26 operators within Aeroflot and post break-up Commonwealth of Independent States (data from[1])
UGA – (Upravleniye Grazhdanskoy Aviatsii – Civil Aviation Directorate) OAO – (Otdel'nyy Aviaotryad – independent flight detachment) LO – (Lyvotnyy Otryad – flight squad) / Aviaeskadril'ya – squadrons) Home Base CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) Airline)
Azerbaijan Baku 360th / 1st & 3rd squadrons Baku-Bina AZAL (no An-26s)
Belarusian Gomel' 105th / 2nd squadron Gomel' Gomel'avia
1st Minsk 353rd / 2nd Squadron Minsk-Loshitsa (Minsk-1) Belavia;Minsk-Avia
Central Regions Bykovo 61st / 4th Squadron Moscow-Bykovo Bykovo Avia
Kursk Kursk Kurskavia
Tula 294th Tula Tula Air Enterprise
East Siberian Chita 136th / 1st Squadron Chita Chita Avia
Irkutsk 134th Irkutsk-1 Baikal Airlines
Far Eastern 1st Khabarovsk 289th Khabarovsk Dalavia Far East Airlines Khabarovsk
Kamchatka CAPA / Petropavlovsk Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky Air Enterprise
Sakhalin CAPA / Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk UAD 147th Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk / Khomutvo Sakhalinskiye Aviatrassy
Komi Pechora Pechora Komiavia;Komiinteravia
Krasnoyarsk Igarka 251st Igarka
2nd Krasnoyarsk 126th Krasnoyarsk-Severnyy Kras Air
Khatanga 221st / 2nd Squadron Khatanga
Leningrad 2nd Leningrad 70th / 2nd Squadron Leningrad-Rzhevka Rzhevka Air Enterprise
Pskov 320th / 2nd Squadron Pskov Pskov Avia
Lithuanian Vilnius 277th Vilnius Lithuanian Airlines
Magadan Anadyr' 150th / 2nd Squadron Anadyr'-Ugol'nyy Chukotavia
1st Magadan 185th Magadan-Sokol Kolyma-Avia
Seymchan Seymchan NW Aerial Forestry Protection Base
Moldavian Kishinyov 407th Kishinyov Air Moldova
North Caucasian Krasnodar 241st Krasnodar ALK Kuban Airlines
1st Krasnodar 406th Krasnodar
Tajik Leninabad 292nd / 2nd Squadron Leninabad
Training Establishments Directorate KVLUGA (Kirovograd Civil Aviation Higher Flying School) Kirovograd Ukraine State Flight Academy
Turkmen Krasnovodsk 360th Krasnovodsk Turkmenistan Airlines/Khazar
Tyumen' Salekhard 234th / 5th Squadron Salekhard
2ndTyumen' 357th Tyumen'-Roschchino Tyumen'AviaTrans (UTair)
Ukrainian Dnipropetrovsk 327th Dnipropetrovsk-Volos'kie Dniproavia
Kirovograd Kirovograd-Khmelyovoye Air URGA
Simferopol 84th Simferopol Aviakompaniya Krym / Crimea AL
Urals Izhevsk Izhevsk Izhavia
Magnitogorsk Magnitogorsk Magnitogorsk Air Enterprise
1st Perm' Perm'-Bolshoye Savino Perm Airlines
1st Sverdlovsk Sverdlovsk-Kol'tsovo Ural Airlines [Yekaterinburg]
Volga Penza 396th Penza Penza Air Enterprise
Saransk Saransk Saransk Air Enterprise
West Siberian Barnaul 341st Barnaul Barnaul Air Enterprise
Kemerovo 196th Kemerovo
Novokuznetsk 184th Novokuznetsk Aerokuznetsk
Omsk 365th Omsk Omsk-Avia
Tolmachevo 448th Novosibirsk-Tolmachevo Sibir'
Tomsk 119th Tomsk Tomsk Avia
Yakutian Kolyma-Indigirka Cherskiy?
Mirnyy 190th Mirnyy Almazy Rossii – Sakha (Alrosa)
Yakutsk 139th / 3rd Squadron Yakutsk
GosNII GVF (Gosudarstvenny Nauchno-Issledovatel'skiy Institut Grazdahnskovo Vozdushnovo Flota – state scientific test institute for civil air fleet) Moscow - Sheremet'yevo-1

Accidents and incidents

Sudan Air Force Antonov An-26-100 crash-landed in 1997 at the airstrip of Gogrial. The plane was hit by SPLA-fire and had to make an emergency landing.

Aircraft on display

An-26 "52+09" in Berlin-Gatow


Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1988–89[28]

General characteristics


See also

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 Gordon, Yefim. Komissarov, Dmitry & Sergey. “Antonov's Turboprop Twins”. Hinkley. Midland. 2003. ISBN 978-1-85780-153-8
  3. ereeves. "The infamous Antonov (An-24 and An-26) cargo planes/crude retrofitted bombers". Sudan Research, Analysis, and Advocacy.
  4. "The Aviationist » Russian warplanes used practice bombs with "To Berlin!" and "For Stalin" slogans during Baltic drills". The Aviationist.
  5. Hoyle 2015, p.32.
  6. 1 2 3 Hoyle 2015, p.33.
  7. Hoyle 2015, pp. 34–35
  8. Ogden (2008)
  9. Hoyle 2015, p.39.
  10. 1 2 Hoyle 2015, p.41.
  11. Martin, Guy and David C. Isby. "Thrushes Operated by Puntland". Air International, May 2014. Vol. 86, No. 5. p. 25.
  12. Antonov design bureau to provide Ukrainian military with upgraded An-26 aircraft, UNIAN (16 March 2016)
  13. (Polish) D. Sałata, K. Sałata, A. Wrona, Pożegnanie Ana-26 (Goodbye to An-26) in: Skrzydlata Polska 2/2009, p.28
  14. "6th Special Operations Squadron Fact Sheet". Archived from the original on 5 December 2008.
  15. Harro Ranter (16 January 1995). "ASN Aircraft accident Antonov 26 registration unknown North Angola". Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  16. Purulia arms drop case
  17. Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
  18. Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
  19. Reed Business Information Limited. "Crashed An-26 had engine problem and aborted first approach". Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  20. Hradecky, Simon. "Accident: Exin AN26 at Tallinn on Aug 25th 2010, gear collapse during takeoff". Aviation Herald. Retrieved 26 August 2010.
  21. "DHL cargo plane crashes in Gabon, no fatalities". BNO News. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  22. "Sudan Plane Crash Kills Government Minister, Scores of Senior Officials". NYCAviation. BNO News. 20 August 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  23. Laura Smith-Spark and Jomana Karadsheh, CNN (21 February 2014). "11 killed as Libyan military plane crashes in Tunisia". CNN. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  24. Sanchez, Raf (17 July 2014). "Ukrainian separatists suspected of bringing down Malaysia Airlines flight on Russian border". The Telegraph. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  25. "Today the self-defence destroyed An-26 airplane using SAM "9К37М1" (better known as 'Buk')", "Ополченцы сообщили, из чего сбили украинский Ан-26". Vzglyad. 14 July 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  26. Peter Baker (18 July 2014), U.S. Sees Evidence of Russian Links to Jet’s Downing The New York Times
  27. Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
  28. Taylor (1988), pp. 222—223.
  • Chant, Christopher. Commercial Aircraft and Airline Markings
  • Gordon, Yefim. Komissarov, Dmitry & Sergey. Antonov's Turboprop Twins. Hinkley. Midland. 2003. ISBN 978-1-85780-153-8
  • Hoyle, Craig (8–14 December 2015). "World Air Forces". Flight International. Vol. 188 no. 5517. pp. 26–53. 
  • Ogden, Bob (2008). Aviation Museums and Collections of The Rest of the World. UK: Air-Britain. ISBN 978-0-85130-394-9
  • Taylor, John W.R. 1988. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1988–89. Coulsdon, UK: Jane's Defence Data. ISBN 978-0-7106-0867-3.

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