India and Russia Sign MTA Joint Venture

By admin • September 14th, 2010

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India Defence Online, New Delhi — India and Russia have finally signed an agreement to set-up a joint venture company for the design and development of a multi-role transport aircraft (MTA). The joint venture to produce this medium category twin-engine aircraft has been formed between state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the Russian United Aircraft Corporation & Rosoboronexport.

As per the agreement, both the sides will share the development cost equally and the joint venture will manufacture 205 aircraft. The estimated cost of this joint venture project is to the tune of $600 million. The joint venture company would be based in Bangalore.

The MTA will function like a military aircraft capable of short landings and takeoffs and ferrying 80 fully equipped troops and will also be useful in battlefield medical evacuations and relief operations. While the Indian Air Force (IAF) plans to acquire 45 of these aircraft, the Russians are committed to acquiring around 100 over 12 years. The MTA is designed to replace India’s Soviet vintage AN 32 aircraft, which are undergoing upgradation in Ukraine. The MTA will also be used by Russia to replace its fleet of AN-12, AN-26 and AN-32 aircraft.

The salient features of the MTA includes a maximum take-off weight of 65 tonnes, payload capacity of15-20 tonnes, cruise speed of 800 kilometres per hour and a range of 2500-2700 kilometres. The MTA will have two engines, state-of-the-art features such as fly-by-wire, full authority digital engine control (FADEC), modern avionics and a glass cockpit. The service ceiling will be 12 kilometres.

The MTA venture had run into trouble in the past due to the Russian aerospace giant Irkut abandoning its participation in the project. In 2002, India and Russia had decided that they would create a 50-50 joint venture, with a Russian consortium – Irkut Aviation and Industrial Association, the Ilyushin Aviation Complex and Rosoboronexport – contributing half of the $300 million development costs and HAL contributing the remainder. However, in March 2008, Russian aerospace major, Irkut Corporation, decided to pull out of the MTA joint venture.

However, the MTA project was kept on track since Rosoboronexport, Russia’s state-owned defence agency identified Ilyushin Aviation Complex as the new prime nodal agency in place of Irkutsk. Finally, the Cabinet Committee on Security gave its nod to the joint development of a multirole transport aircraft (MTA) with Russia in December 2009.

Source: India Defence Online

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