Subscribe Free
in Defence / Features

Iraqi An-32s pressed into service as bombers

Posted 24 April 2017 · Add Comment

When operations by the so-called Islamic State (also known as Daesh) began to ramp up in 2014, the Iraqi Air Force was sorely lacking in close air support and ground attack capabilities.

The Lockheed Martin F-16s that had been ordered from the US remained undelivered and rapid Daesh advances around Baghdad led to concerns about basing security. Consequently, Washington postponed the delivery.
Iraq had purchased three AC-208 Combat Caravans and three C208 Caravans in 2008, and the AC-208, which could then carry a pair of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, made its combat debut in January 2014 when the Iraqi Air Force began using it against insurgents in Anbar province.
But there was a clear and urgent need to augment these lightly armed aircraft, and an interim solution was found in the shape of the six Antonov An-32B tactical transport aircraft delivered from February 2011 to augment the C-130 Hercules operating with the 23rd Transport Squadron at New Al Muthana Air Base.
Subsequently, in May 2013, Iraq formed a new unit, the 33rd Transport Squadron, to operate the An-32s.
Daesh insurgents captured several major cities in Anbar province and, so, in July 2014, the Iraqi Air Force launched an emergency programme to convert two of the six An-32Bs into makeshift bombers, using a stockpile of Chinese-made 500lb bombs delivered to Saddam Hussein’s air force many years before.
This was not the first time that the An-32 had been used as a bomber – Indian Air Force An-32s pioneered the use of a removable roller conveyor on guide rails in the cargo bay, carrying four 500lb/250kg bombs. This system was proved during India’s Iron Fist exercise in February 2013 at the Pokhran Test Range in western India.
Meanwhile, Ukraine had also 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.
With the help of Ukrainian technicians, the Iraqi Air Force modified a pair of An-32Bs to serve as bombers. The first aircraft was fitted with external BDZ-34 bomb racks – as used by Ukrainian An-26s – while the second adopted the Indian approach, with an internal roller-conveyor.
The first photo depicting an Iraqi Air Force An-32B Cline transport aircraft carrying a bomb on an external pylon appeared on social media in July 2016, but combat use of the An-32B bombers cannot yet be confirmed.
 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

Emirates and Flydubai celebrate six months of successful partnership

Emirates and Flydubai has revealed strong passenger numbers for the first six months of their partnership.

Etihad Aviation Group launches initiatives to commemorate the Year of Zayed

Etihad Aviation Group has unveiled its extensive Year of Zayed initiatives which are set to be launched throughout 2018.

Emirates renews its support to Mauritius and Seychelles

Emirates has announced its renewed support to Mauritius and the Seychelles by extending its global marketing agreement with the respective Tourism Boards of the two countries.

Flydubai announces direct flights to Helsinki

Flydubai has announced services to Finland’s capital, Helsinki.

Oman Air unveils First Class suite at Arabian Travel Market

Oman Air unveiled the new First Class Mini Suite of its Dreamliner 787 -9 fleet, at the Arabian Travel Market, a key travel and tourism event taking place from 22-25 April, held in Dubai.

Global standards, collaboration are key to future of ground handling

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has highlighted three key priorities for the ground handling industry to support the growing demand for air travel: harmonizing global standards to improve safety, improving

TAA SK0902311218
See us at
MEBAA BT1004121218EBACE 2018GATM BT1004061118BIAS BT271017161118AirportShow BT1502090518SOFEX BT2018ASDubai BT1004091018Istanbul Airshow BT22018Cargo BT1004091018ArabianTravelMkBT250418Global Aerospace BT2018