The Antonov An-22 is a four-engine turboprop aircraft that was designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in the Soviet Union for heavy military and civil transport. It is the world’s largest turboprop aircraft and the first wide-body transport aircraft ever built.
The An-22 was developed in the early 1960s to meet the requirements of the Soviet Air Force for a strategic airlifter capable of carrying large and heavy loads over long distances. It was also intended to serve as a backup for the jet-powered Antonov An-12. The An-22 was based on the An-10 airliner, but with a larger fuselage, a T-tail, and four powerful Kuznetsov NK-12 engines driving contra-rotating propellers.
The An-22 made its first flight on February 27, 1965, and entered service in 1969. It was used by the Soviet Air Force and Aeroflot for various missions, such as transporting tanks, missiles, helicopters, spacecraft, and humanitarian aid. It also set several world records for speed, payload, and altitude. It was nicknamed Antei (Antaeus) by its designers and Cock by NATO.
The An-22 can carry up to 80,000 kg of payload or 29 passengers in its spacious cargo cabin, which has a length of 57.92 m, a width of 4.4 m, and a height of 4.1 m. It has a rear loading ramp and a nose that can be raised to facilitate loading and unloading. It can operate from short and unpaved runways thanks to its STOL performance and low-pressure tires.
The An-22 has a maximum speed of 740 km/h and a range of 5,000 km with maximum payload or 10,950 km with maximum fuel. It has a wingspan of 64.4 m and a height of 12.53 m. It is equipped with various avionics, such as navigation, communication, radar, and electronic countermeasures systems.
The An-22 was produced in Ukraine until 1976, with a total of 68 aircraft built. Only a few remain in service today, mainly with Antonov Airlines for charter flights. The An-22 is one of the most impressive and distinctive aircraft in aviation history.