The Antonov 24 was designed and build as the requirement for a turbine powered short-range civil transport aircraft, capable of replacing the piston engined Il-14, increased during the late 1950s. Due to this demand, the Antonov Design Bureau came up with a design which could accomodate around 32 to 40 passengers on short to medium range routes. The design also included the ability to operate off-runway from small unpaved airfields and its performance characteristics was such that it could be used between airports with considerable variations in altitude or temperature.
In 1960, two years after the initial design was presented, the first prototype of the An-24 flew. Time between the beginning of the program and completion of the first aircraft had been slightly extended due to a capacity change to a 44 passenger accomodation.
First production aircraft entered service in 1962 with Aeroflot and were used for crew training and test flights. It was not until September 1963 that the first An-24Vs, capable of carrying 50 passengers, flew on commercial behalf between Moscow and Saratov. Subsequent production versions have included the An-24V SRS II, available with a standard 50 passenger accomodation or mixed pax/freight config, the An-24B and An-24T which were equipped to operate as specialized freighters. A 1.985 lb thrust auxiliary turbojet installed on the right wing boosted take-off peformance and was used as engine starting device on the An-24RV and An-24RT.
The An-24P was also evaluated which was equipped to airdrop para-firefighters in order to provide a quick response to newly reported forest fires.