Following the success of their C.212 Aviocar, CASA of Spain and IPTN of Indonesia joined forces on a 50/50 basis to create Airtech specifically for the design and development of a larger and more efficient pressurized transport for both civil and military use. Work on the resulting CN.235 began in 1980, and prototypes were simultaneously constructed in the partner countries. The Spanish prototype made its maiden flight on 11 November 1983; the Indonesian prototype followed suit on 30 December 1983. Deliveries from both production lines began in December 1986 and February 1987 respectively. In January 1990 a license was signed with TAI for assembly and later construction of 50 aircraft in Turkey.
The main variants have been the CN.235 Series 10 initial model with two 1 700-shp CT7-7As; the Spanish-built CN.235 Series 100 and Indonesian-built CN.235 Series 110 improved model with CT7-9Cs; the CN.235 Series 200 and CN.235 Series 220 with structural strengthening and aerodynamic refinements; the Indonesian-developed CN.235 Series 330 Phoenix aimed at an RAAF requirement; the CN.235 M military transport; the Spanish-built CN.235 MP Persuader and the Indonesian-built CN.235 MPA maritime patrol types with advanced avionics and six underwing hardpoints; and the CN.235 QC quick-change cargo/passenger transport.
Military sales have been brisk, and the type currently serves with air forces in some 20 countries. In 1997, CASA began development of the stretched CN.295. Powered by 2 645-hp Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127G turboprops and fitted with a full EFIS cockpit, this has a payload some 50 per cent greater than that of the CN.235, with the capacity to carry 78 troops.
The first CN.295 flew on 28 November 1997, and the first of nine production machines for the Spanish air force entered service in 2004.