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Khaled Al-Hassan : Working on Producing “Antonov 312” in KSA

An  interview by:Mohamed Fathi

Translated by:

Leaders – MENA Team


Following the first launch of the Antonov 132 aircraft in Ukraine a few days ago, within an industrial partnership between the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology ,Technya company, and the giant Antonov aircraft manufacturing company, the Kingdom opened another path in the field of global competition. According to the knowledge based economy. This is not the last endeavor, but soon the second version of the entire plane will be manufactured in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Our sister magazine “Rowad Al-Aamal- Entrepreneurs – KSA” made this interview with one of the leaders of change :  Dr. Khaled Al-Hassan, General Supervisor of the Office of Special Programs  , and  General Supervisor of the King Abdul Aziz Project for Science and Technology.


Dr. Khaled Hassan in brief

Khaled bin Abdullah Al-Hassan, a research professor in the field of mechanical engineering, aerospace and aeronautics, a graduate of George Washington University, was the director of the National Center for Aviation Technology and Digital Studies, then assistant to the supervisor of the Space Research Institute, Special Programs and General Supervisor of the Antonov Project 132.

I have more than 100 research papers published in scientific journals and conferences, several aerospace inventions, as well as applied research in the field of aerospace and aeronautics, including in the field of UAVs, and have contributed significantly – through my work as a supervisor of the Aerospace Research Institute – Construction and testing of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Manufacturing and production of carbon composite materials, glass fiber, nanotechnology, knowledge-building and aerospace requirements, and the latest aerospace and aerospace technology, based on highly efficient computers with the capability to program specialized software and logarithmic engineering .

He has been   for five consecutive years in George Washington University from 1999 to 2003.

In line with the initiatives of  King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) , and according to  the vision of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 2030, which provides for localization of industries, industrial activities and support services to create quality jobs as well as localization of more complex technologies such as aircraft manufacturing to contribute to improving the country’s self-sufficiency and enhancing the export of our technical products. To achieve this through direct investments and strategic partnerships with industry leaders in order to transfer knowledge and technology and localize expertise in manufacturing, maintenance, research and development.


  • After more than 71 years that the Kingdom has owned a private passenger plane, Antonov is taking off in Saudi Arabia soon, but this time it is made by   Saudi own hands, how did the whole story begin?

As I mentioned, there is a tendency in the Kingdom to develop advanced industries, including the aircraft industry, so the city worked very hard on the ways to implement these policies.

The aircraft industry includes several factories in all engineering disciplines, such as mechanical and electrical, so the city launched the idea of ​​an alliance with a giant aerospace company, Antonov. We found the product to meet the needs of the local market and the vision of 2030 and set our footing in the global competition.

In mid-2015, the city began to develop the idea of ​​an airplane industry. We then held several meetings. The call was made to all government and private companies. We asked: “What do we want from a cargo plane?” “Antonov  132an”, we studied the economic feasibility, and we found what would best meet  the needs of the local market.


  • How was the first takeoff experience?

The first takeoff of “Antonov 132” was conducted in Ukraine in mid June. How successful is the experiment, and what is the quantity produced?

The first flight test of the Saudi-Ukrainian Antonov 132-AN was carried out successfully, a light-weight multi-mission aircraft. The type is called light-cargo aircraft, with a load of 2.5 to 9 tons. The aircraft was being prepared at the Antonov airport in north-west Kiev prior to its pilot launch, in the operation of its engines and systems to ensure that it could fly until it took off successfully. There will be other pilot steps until the kingdom is flying from four to six weeks.

The number of aircraft using this type of 1400 aircraft, but will be out of the market because of the end of life or to increase the cost of operating and industrial.

We are working on a new product to replace 1000 aircraft in the future, and there are 3 global companies competing for this product in the market; so we worked on a joint alliance with Antonov and international companies such as Honeywell Electronics, Britain’s Pratt and Whitney Airplanes, A local manufacturer of aircraft production; there will be several factories to produce 300 aircraft in 20 years.

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