The PZL M28 Skytruck is a pretty famous Polish aircraft. Recently the US Department of Defense has contracted biggest Polish aircraft manufacturer Polskie Zaklady Lotnicze, also know as PZL Mielec, to supply two new M28 Skytruck aircraft to Nepal.
The $18.9 million Foreign Military Sales contract, which was announced on March 1st, 2019, provides for two new, commercially produced, M28 Skytruck Block 05 aircraft. Work will be performed in Mielec, Poland, and is expected to be complete by December 20, 2019.
The PZL M28 Skytruck is a Polish STOL light cargo and passenger plane, as a development of license-built Antonov An-28s. The Antonov An-28 was the winner of a competition against the Beriev Be-30 for a new light passenger and utility transport for Aeroflot’s short haul routes, conceived to replace the highly successful An-2 biplane. The An-28 is derived from the earlier An-14. Commonalities with the An-14 include a high wing layout, twin fins and rudders, but it differs in having a reworked and longer fuselage, with turboprop engines.
Production of the An-28 was then transferred to Poland’s PZL Mielec in 1978, although it was not until 22 July 1984 that the first Polish-built production aircraft flew. After the Soviet Union disintegrated, this aircraft was further developed by PZL Mielec and designated as PZL M28 Skytruck.
Basically the design of the M28 is not much different from the An-28. The M28 is a twin-engine high-wing cantilever monoplane of all-metal structure with twin vertical tails and rear clamshell door, a larger fuselage and turboprop engines. It is an unique design short takeoff and landing commuter aircraft designed for easy reconfiguration between different types of missions. M28 Bryza is fitted with a robust tricycle non-retractable landing gear. The nose wheel allows landing and takeoff operations on short and unprepared runways during hot or high altitude conditions.
The PLZ An-28 was originally equipped with a licensed PZL-10S engine, they were built mostly for the USSR, until it broke up. After being developed into the PZL M28 Skytruck version, the engines were replaced with Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65B turboprop engines, providing 1100 horsepower with five-blade Hartzell propellers. The engines provide a maximum speed of 355 km/h, the operating range is 1592 km at 3,281m with 45 minutes reserve. It can take off in 550m at the 7,500 kg Maximum takeoff weight.
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Maximum payload is 2,300 kg, it can carry 2,300 kg over 100 nautical mile or 1,100 kg with full fuel over 700 nautical mile. The M28 can carry a crew of two to three plus 12 paratroopers or 18 passengers based on the mission requirements.
The aircraft also upgraded some of the Western avionics systems, notably an improved Honeywell avionics suite for visual flight rules day and night and all weather operations. All naval variants are fitted with modern avionics including KFC-325 flight control system, RDR-2000 weather radar, SC-10D2 IFF transponder and LCR-92 laser gyro platform.
M28 has been proven in operations in extreme conditions with high range and load on unprepared airstrips, including extreme environments of Greenland, Himalayan mountains of Nepal, South American tropical rain forests and Southeast Asian jungle islands as well as Baltic Sea. M28 is valued for its mission applicability, safety, robustness, its performance and features. PZL Mielec was bought by Sikorsky in 2007. Purchased primarily to produce helicopter structures, the company also produces 10 M28s per year.
A total of over 176 An-28 and M28 in all variants were built in Poland. Most numerous users are former Soviet civil aviation and the Polish Air Force and Navy, smaller numbers are used by the Polish civil aviation and in the United States, Nepal, Colombia, Venezuela, Vietnam and Indonesia.