The aircraft for today is the CASA/IPTN CN-235 which is the twin-engine and medium-ranged transport aircraft that was designed and produced under a joint project between the CASA (Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA) working in Spain and the IPTN (Industri Pesawat Terbang Nusantara) working in Indonesia as their military transport and regional airliner aircraft.
The primary role of the CASA/IPTN CN-235 as a military aircraft is to perform the air transport, maritime patrol and surveillance missions. The largest operator of the CASA/IPTN CN-235 is currently Turkey which operates nearly 59 of these large-sized transport aircraft.
For our readers, we have gathered a bunch of interesting facts about the CASA/IPTN CN-235 which are as follows.
Built under a joint project between CASA & IPTN:-
The project for designing and producing a medium-sized transport aircraft designated as CASA/IPTN CN-235 was started as a joint project between two aircraft manufacturing companies; CASA of Spain and IPTN of Indonesia. Both these companies worked hand in hand to design, create and manufacture an aircraft that could serve as a viable aircraft for tactical transport roles at the cost-effective range and could compete with other transport aircraft like the Lockheed C-130 Hercules.
Features of a tactical transport aircraft:-
The CASA/IPTN CN-235 was given the necessary features of a tactical transport aircraft which resulted in it having high and straight wing mainplanes as well as a short undercarriage to have a low ground running profile. Other features included were having underslung engines for clear activity on the ground as well as the raised tail section for offering the aircraft with excellent cargo hold access within its body.
The aircraft is easily operable by 3 crew members; 2 pilots and 1 flight engineer. As for the total seating capacity, the aircraft can house 51 passengers on seats, 35 paratroopers, 18 liters of medical supply palettes. The maximum load carrying capacity of the CASA/IPTN CN-235 is about 13100 lbs.
Powerplant and other specs:-
A single one of the CASA/IPTN CN-235 is powered by 2 of the General Electric CT7-9C3 turboprop engines. These engines were used for propelling the aircraft’s propeller assemblies each of which had a 4-blade propeller. The power generated by these engines is about 1750 HP each. This much power is enough to allow the aircraft to have a top speed of almost 285 mph for an operational range of a maximum of 2705 miles at a service ceiling of about 25000 feet. As for the aircraft’s climbing rate, it is approximately 1780 ft/min.
First flight and production:-
The very first prototype of the CASA/IPTN CN-235 flew back on 11th November 1983 while the first operation ready aircraft was introduced back on 1st March 1988. The initial production order for the aircraft was for its model designation CN-235-10 of which 30 were created. 15 of these CN-235-10modle units were created by CASA and IPTN and they were introduced with General Electric GT7-7A engines.
Afterward, CASA solely manufactured nearly 100 of the CN-235-100 model units which were installed with General Electric CT7-9C engines that were housed in the composite nacelles. As for the IPTN, they developed nearly 110 of these model units.
A model designated as CN-235-200/220 was designed and developed as an improved version of the CASA/IPTN CN-235 that had structural refinements for giving it increased operational range as well as improved field performance. CASA reached the mark of 200 CASA/IPTN CN-235 aircraft manufactured by creating 220 models.
Another version as designated as CN-235-300 which was fitted with Honeywell avionics along with other few minor changes. This model was given the name Phoenix and was designed in order to enter the Australia Project Air 5190 for the tactical airliner but never made it to the production line.
Another model designated as CN-235 MPA was created to serve the role of a Maritime Patrol aircraft that was also fitted with systems to carry and launch the ASMs (Anti Ship Missiles) as well as air-launched torpedoes.
One model of the CASA/IPTN CN-235 is designated as HC-144 Ocean Sentry which was also related solely for maritime roles and was introduced for active service back in 2009. This variant of the CASA/IPTN CN-235 was used by the USCG (United States Coast Guard). Nearly 18 of these Ocean Sentry aircraft were manufactured.
Military gunship model and armaments:-
As for the global operators that were interested in a model that was solely built for attack purposes as well as loitering capabilities, the model under designation AC-235 was manufactured. This was a gunship minded aircraft model that was armed with a single 30 mm cannon that was on the side. Other armaments included aircraft to have rocket pods as well as missiles. For low light and nighttime work, this gunship model was fitted with a full functioning radar system. The design of its CASA/IPTN CN-235 variant is the one that is able to challenge the likes of the other large gunships like the Lockheed AC-130 Hercules and other similar platforms.
A few of the CASA/IPTN CN-235 units were managed as passenger haulers by some airlines. However, none of them were able to achieve any viable success in that regard.
Marketed under Airbus Defense 7 Space brand:-
At the moment, the CASA/IPTN CN-235 is still being marketed under Airbus Defence & Space brand as the low-cost tactical airlifter. The aircraft, over the decades of its service, has proven itself as a versatile platform with STOL (Short Take Off and Landing) abilities on both the prepared and rough airfields ad is considered as best in this regard.
Unit cost and the total number of units produced:-
The CASA/IPTN CN-235 is either operated in past or currently operated by almost 35 different world nations. Out of them the main operators of this aircraft are the following.
- Turkish Air Force
- Irish Air Force
- French Air Force
- Royal Malaysian Air Force
Till this date, nearly 284 of these aircraft have been manufactured while the unit cost for a single CASA/IPTN CN-235 is about 34 million dollars.