Iran's "Simorgh" Regional Transport Aircraft Undergoing Initial Flight Tests

The "Simorgh" is a reverse engineered AN-140 of Ukrainian origin that will be manufactured at a new plant in Iran
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  • 11:55 AM, December 20, 2023
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Prototype of the Simorgh military transport aircraft @Iranian media

Iran's "Simorgh" transport plane, a reverse-engineered AN-140 of Ukrainian origin set to be manufactured at a new plant in Iran, is currently undergoing initial flight tests.

This week, Mohammad Mohammadi-Bakhsh, Head of the Civil Aviation Organization of the Islamic Republic, announced the establishment of an aircraft plant dedicated to advancing the Simorgh project.

The production initiative involves a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Roads & Urban Development, the Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of Industry, Mine, and Trade of Iran. With each department contributing specialized expertise, the endeavor aims to position Iran as a self-sufficient hub for aviation manufacturing.

While the precise location of the newly established aircraft plant remains undisclosed, indications suggest it is likely situated in Isfahan. The Isfahan air base witnessed the maiden flight of the Simorgh aircraft in June of this year, marking a crucial milestone in Iran's aerospace endeavors.

The Simorgh military transport aircraft is a creation of the Iranian Aviation Industry Organization, operating under the umbrella of the Iranian Ministry of Defense. It is built upon the framework of the IrAn-140, a licensed modification of the Ukrainian An-140 turboprop aircraft. Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industries has played a pivotal role in the conversion of An-140 passenger aircraft into military transport planes, featuring a rear ramp for the efficient loading of substantial cargo. The collaboration with Kharkiv State Aircraft Manufacturing Company involved the production of key components in Kharkiv, while the assembly and conversion were executed by HESA engineers.

Further advancements include ongoing efforts by the Aeronautical Design Center IAMI to develop a tactical transport aircraft with a ramp and a payload capacity of 6 tons, intended to replace the aging Fokker-27. First presented in May 2022, experts speculate that this new aircraft may be derived from a previously supplied Kharkiv State Aircraft Manufacturing Company An-140 aircraft kit.

In recent developments, Mohammad Mohammadi-Bakhsh announced that the Simorgh plane is currently undergoing initial flight tests. Pending approvals from the Civil Aviation Organization, the Simorgh is poised to be a versatile asset, capable of taking off and landing at airports worldwide. Two Simorgh cargo planes have reportedly been delivered to the Islamic Republic of Iran Airlines (Iran Air), underscoring the practical applications of this military transport aircraft.

Mohammadi-Bakhsh emphasized the multifaceted nature of the Simorgh project, highlighting its potential to produce passenger aircraft based on specific orders and fleet conditions. The Simorgh is categorized as a regional jet, designed for short-range flights and well-suited to smaller airports and runways, aligning with the climatic conditions of Iran.

The head of the Civil Aviation Organization also addressed the international prospects of the Simorgh, stating that any aircraft equipped with international permits would be authorized for international flights. This announcement aligns with Iran's commitment to adhering to international laws governing civil aviation licenses issued by the Civil Aviation Organization.

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