India-Russia project on military transport aircraft almost ‘frozen’

Amrita Nair Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on January 19, 2018 Published on February 03, 2016

Deal on Il-214 has not been concluded with Defence Ministry yet, says Russian firm

A joint project between Russia and India to create a military transport plane has been frozen, according to the CEO of the Russian company. Military transport aircraft (MTA) are typically fixed and rotary wing cargo aircraft used to deliver troops, weapons and other military equipment.

The proposed medium-airlift MTA is being developed as a joint venture project between the Russian concern of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), which has under its umbrella Defence firms such as Ilyushin and Irkut, and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. Sources indicated that around $600 million was to be spent on the MTA’s development, with both nations sharing the investment equally.

Speaking about the plane – Il-214, Sergey Velmozhkin, CEO, Ilyushin Aviation Complex, the Russian aircraft manufacturer, told Russian news agency TASS that the contract on the Il-214 has not been concluded with the Indian Defence Ministry yet.

Preliminary design ready

Commenting on the development of the plane, the CEO told the news agency that the preliminary design “is practically ready. We will offer it, but the decision depends on the customer...We hope to clarify the issue somehow by the middle of the year.” Sources said the international project on joint development, production and sales of the twin-turbofan MTA is a combined effort of HAL, the Irkut Corporation and the Ilyushin Aviation Complex. The MTA is expected to replace the Indian Air Force (IAF) 110 Antonov An-32 fleet of transport aircraft. The aircraft's first flight was expected by 2017, and was scheduled to enter the IAF by 2018.

“The IAF planned to acquire 45 MTAs and the Russian market 105 aircraft. A scale model of the MTA was even displayed at Aero India 2009. There was huge scope for exporting the aircraft, both for civil and military use,” indicated sources.

Sources went on to add that in October 2012, “HAL signed a preliminary design contract with UAC, stipulating that joint design work would begin in Moscow, involving 30 Indian engineers as well as UAC’s design team.”

Moreover, they added, discussions over the pre-contract documentation on the MTA programme was also reported to have concluded between Russia and India in the third quarter of 2015, while the main stage of the aircraft designing was planned for late 2015.

Though Russia is in talks with India to jointly produce helicopters, aircraft and military ships, the contract on the Il-214 has not been concluded yet.

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Published on February 03, 2016
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