Fast, compact, light, medium range and extremely safe are the strong points that make the CN-235 popular in many countries.
CN-235 is a medium-range transport aircraft developed by CASA of Spain and Indonesian manufacturer IPTN. This is a twin turboprop tactical transport aircraft capable of operating from short, unpaved runways. It has been selected by more than 20 countries worldwide and features versatility, minimal support requirements, safe and reliable operation in all environments at low costs. Its primary military roles include maritime patrol, surveillance, and air transport. Its largest user is Turkey, which has 59 aircraft.
Design began in January 1980 with the first flight was made in 1983 and officially introduced in 1988. The CN-235 is a high-wing, pressurised, twin turbo-prop plane with Short Takeoff and Landing performance that can carry a maximum payload of 6,000 kg. The aircraft is a fairly conventional design with a tubular fuselage, its rear ramp facilitates load and unload of cargo operations being able to accommodate passengers, standardized pallets, light vehicles and other payloads. In addition to cargo missions, CN-235 can accommodate up to 36 fully equipped paratroopers as well as 21 stretchers for medical evacuation. Paratroopers airdrop can be done quickly due to the rear ramp and two side doors. The CN-235 is able to carry out high and low altitude in-flight drops distribution of up to four tons of supplies to forward troops. CN-235 versatility allows to perform additional missions through installation of external payloads and equipment such as marine patrol, electronic warfare, training or surveillance.
The CN-235 has been conceived for tactical military transport and is capable of operating from unpaved runways and has excellent low level flying characteristics for tactical penetration. The aircraft is fitted with Messier-Bugatti retractable tricycle-type landing gear designed for operation from semi-prepared runways. The flight deck accommodates the pilot and co-pilot and a mission crew member.
The highly designed wings allows for good lifting properties and stability in low-level flight. The tail section is raised with a vertical tail fin and the horizontal planes are mounted low, just above the rear slope.
The aircraft is powered by two General Electric CT7-9C3 turboprop engines each developing 1,750 horsepower. The engines are fitted with fire detection and fire extinguishing systems and are wing-mounted in composite nacelles. Its maximum cruising speed is 450 km/h, the range and service ceiling of the aircraft are 4,355 km and 7,620 m respectively.
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Although the CN-235 was initially the result of cooperation between CASA and IPTN of Indonesia, CASA has developed its own series and versions, with increases in weights, ground performance improvements, etc. CASA’s aircraft is therefore the product of continuous development, not just in the military sphere, but also in civil areas.
In the 1980s, it began to be used as a commercial plane, although it wasn’t a very big success for airlines. Possibly its lack of success was due to its 50-passenger capacity and short range coupled with high fuel usage. In 2015, Indonesian Aerospace announced that they are currently planning a new variant of CN-235 called N-245 that will be designed specially for civil operation and able to carry up to 60 passengers. Previously also known as CN-235NG, this variant planned to be fully launched after Indonesian Aerospace N-219 project is done and expected to be fully certified in 2019. Further planned development is N-270, a stretched version of N-245 that able to carry up to 70 to 90 passengers and planned to be developed in 2019 to 2024.
For those global parties interest in an attack model with excellent handling and loitering capabilities, the AC-235 was developed. This gunship-minded form is armed through a 30mm cannon, rocket pods and missiles as well as carrying full radar functionality for low-light work. The design is intended to challenge the likes of the Lockheed AC-130 Hercules series gunships and similar platform.
The CN-235 is the ideal platform for the development and integration of a wide variety of versions like the Maritime Patrol Version, Electronic Warfare, Early Warning, etc. Spain has developed many variants of this aircraft and ultimately C-295 has emerged as the most sophisticated and versatile derivative of proven CN-235. The CN-235 and C-295 aircraft configured for maritime patrol duties have been dubbed ‘Persuader’.