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

The sound of silence on the flight deck

Airline pilots can at last benefit from a technology that has changed the world for passengers and general aviation pilots around the world. Alan Peaford travelled to Boston, USA, to visit the Bose Corporation and hear about the

Gulf Air’s double daily Bahrain–London 787-9 Dreamliner service takes off

Gulf Air has launched its double daily Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner service connecting Bahrain International Airport and London, Heathrow.

Etihad Airways passes the biennial IATA Operational Safety Audit

Etihad Airways has successfully passed the biennial IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA).

Boeing and FedEx express announce order for 24 medium and large freighters

Boeing and FedEx Express today announced a new order for 12 767 Freighters and 12 777 Freighters as the world's largest air cargo carrier continues to invest in the industry's most capable freighters to better serve its customers.

Abu Dhabi Airports opens new sleeping facility for transfer passengers in Terminal 3

Abu Dhabi Airports has the opened of Aerotel’s new airport transit sleeping facility at the Abu Dhabi International Airport.

KhalifaSat flown to Korea with Emirates SkyCargo

KhalifaSat, the first fully UAE-built Earth observation satellite, has been flown to South Korea prior to its launch in Japan later this year. Steve Nichols reports.

TAA SK0902311218
See us at
ASDubai BT1004091018AIME19BTA3005120219BIAS BT271017161118GATM BT1004061118Istanbul Airshow BT22018Cargo BT1004091018MEBAA BT1004121218