The An-12 (NATO reporting name “Cub”) was developed to fulfil a Soviet air force requirement for a turboprop freighter. Based on the twin turboprop An-8 which was developed for Aeroflot service, the four engine An-12 was developed in parallel with the commercial passenger An-10.
The prototype An-12 flew in 1958, powered by Kuznetsov NK-4 turboprops, and was essentially a militarised An-10 with a rear loading cargo ramp. Approximately 100 An-10s were built, the type seeing service between 1959 and 1973.
Series production of the An-12 in a number of mainly military variants continued until 1973, from which time it was replaced in Soviet service by the Ilyushin Il-76 (described elsewhere). The An-12BP is the basic military transport version of the Cub. Other military versions are in use as Elint and ECM platforms.
The defensive rear gunner’s turret is faired over on civil An-12s. Operators have included Aeroflot, Cubana, LOT Polish Airlines and Bulair for civil and quasi military work.
China’s Xian began redesign work of the An-12 in 1969, but after the first prototype the program was transferred to Shaanxi. A number of Chinese versions were developed, including the civil variants Y-8B and Y-8C, the latter developed with cooperation from Lockheed, similar Y-8F-200, Y-8F livestock carrier and Y-8H aerial survey model.