Indo-Russian transport aircraft to fly by 2017

New Delhi, Sep 13 (Calcutta Tube) The Indo-Russian Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA), designed to replace India’s AN 32 aircraft, should be flying in about seven years, a Russian official has said. The aircraft would be useful in natural disaster relief missions.

Vladimir A. Belyakov, Deputy Director General of the United Aircraft Company (UAC), told India Strategic (www.indiastrategic.in) 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.

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.

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.

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.

Nayak is quoted by India Strategic as saying that significantly, the two countries would share the design and production responsibilities also on 50:50 basis. 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.

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.

The aircraft would 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 2,500 km. The service ceiling would be 12 km.

Asked if the aircraft would carry any prefix like IL or Ilyushin, 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 N.C. Agarwal, HAL’s Director Design and Development, and from the UAC side by Velmo Zhkin Sergey.

(Gulshan Luthra can be contacted at Gulshan.Luthra@IndiaStrategic.in)

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