Germany has leased two Polish manufactured PZL Mielec M28 Skytruck twin turboprop aircraft for carrying out parachute jumping training for its armed forces.
The aircraft has been leased for four years, following delay in certifying the Airbus A400M airlifter for parachute jumping missions.
The M28 is renowned for its Short Take Off and Landing capabilities and is a westernised version of the Soviet era Antonov An-28 transport aircraft.
The 7,500 kg (16,500 lb.) twin turboprop is ideal for military and commercial transport missions with its ability to operate from short, unpaved or underdeveloped airstrips.
German Bundeswehr carry out para jumping operation from an altitude of 6,200 meters, with 5 to 6 para troopers, even though the aircraft can carry 14.
The aircraft is flown by civilian pilots and is lot cheap to operate compared to the heavier A400M and the C-160 Transal. Other advantage include the rear exit door that is safe than side exit present in civilian aircraft.
The M28 aircraft is certified by Brazil's ANAC, and by EASA and the FAA to perform in minus 50°C to 50°C temperatures. The airframe's ice protection system is certified for flight into known icing conditions.
A high-lift wing, two 1,100 shp (820 kW) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-65B turboprop engines, and thrust-reversing propellers give the airplane unique short takeoff and landing capabilities.
With a maximum payload of 2,300 kg (5,000 lb), the M28 can take off and land on rough airstrips just 548 meters (1,800 ft.) long.