Friday, April 1, 2011


Mr Vladimir A Belyakov, Deputy Director General of the United Aircraft Company (UAC), told India Strategic after the signing of the bilateral agreement between the two countries on producing this medium category twin-engine aircraft that it should take about a year to do the preliminary design and another one and a half years to do the detailed design.
The first flight of the aircraft could be held in about seven years, say 2017 and regular production a couple of years later.
Mr Belyakov, who headed the Russian delegation at the signing ceremony Sep 9, said that the MTA would be a typical military aircraft, capable of short landings and takeoffs and ferrying 80 fully equipped troops, or infantry fighting vehicles like the Soviet origin BMPs and equivalent western systems, artillery pieces and ammunition and also for executing battlefield medical evacuations.
The aircraft would also be useful in natural disaster relief missions.
It would be designed to replace India’s 100-plus Soviet vintage AN 32 aircraft, which are now under overhaul and upgrades in Ukraine. The first AN 32 had arrived in India in 1984.
Mr Ashok Nayak, Chairman of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), headed the talks and the signing ceremony from the Indian side. The two countries have pooled in $ 300.35 million each to develop the aircraft.
Mr Nayak told India Strategic that India would acquire 45 aircraft while Russia 100. There would be scope for exporting this aircraft, and the plan is to produce a total of 205 aircraft.
But significantly, the two countries would share the design and production responsibilities also on 50:50 basis.
The aircraft will have a glass cockpit for electronic instrument displays, fly by wire controls, full authority digital engine control (FADEC) engines, 800 kmph cruise speed, and a range of 2500 km. The service ceiling would be 12 km.
India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) cleared the contribution for HAL in August while the Russian government had done this earlier for giving its share through the UAC and Rosoboronexport (ROE), the latter being the sole state-run arms trading Russian company.
Asked if the aircraft would carry any prefix like IL or Ilyushin, Mr Belyakov said that the company would be called MTA Ltd, and the aircraft also simply as MTA.
The joint company would be based in Bangalore.
The Charter documents were signed by Mr N C Agarwal, HAL’s Director Design and Development, and from the UAC side by Mr Velmo Zhkin Sergey.
It may be noted that Russia has maintained its traditional Soviet days lead in supplying military aircraft to India. Over nearly last one and half decades, it has won orders for supplying nearly $ 20 billion worth of aircraft, systems and support elements including maintenance and upgrades for 272 SU 30 MKI combat jets, 139 Mi 17 V5 helicopters, and upgrades for SU 30 as well as old Mig 21bis and Mig 29 aircraft.
The two countries had signed the Inter-governmental Agreement for the MTA project in November 2007 after a visit of Defence Minister A K Antony to Moscow.

Images Copyright Ilyushin

The IRKUT Corporation proudly presents the programme of the Indo-Russian Transport Aircraft. The international project on joint development, production and sales of twin-turbofan Tactical Transport Aircraft envisions solidary cooperation of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (India), the IRKUT Corporation and the Ilyushin Aviation Complex (Russia), with their design teams to be merged into a virtual enterprise. 

The programme of Tactical Transport Aircraft development will significantly broaden the horizons of Indo-Russian military-technical cooperation. While implementing this innovative programme, Russian and Indian engineers will acquire invaluable experience and expertise in joint creation of the top-of-the-line aviation product. 

For the first time, the airlifter is being co-developed by both countries on a parity basis without governmental financing with the project's cost of nearly USD 300 … 400 mln. The IRKUT Corporation plays a key role of major investor (40% of project expenses) and coordinator of the Russian side. 

By 2015-2020 this transport aircraft with up to 18.5-t carrying capability is supposed to replace aging fleet of the An-12, An-26, C-130. Indian Air Force plans to acquire 45 Tactical Transport Aircraft. Additionally Russian market will demand nearly 100 transport aircraft within next 12 years.