Russia, India set JV for the Multirole Transport Aircraft


India and Russia are setting up a Joint Venture Company (JVC) to design and develop the IL-214 Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA). The partners in the JVC will be Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the Russian United Aircraft Corporation and Russian defense export agency Rosoboronexport. The operating site of the new JVC will be in Bangalore, India – adjacent to HAL headquarters.

Multirole Transport Aircraft - the Indo-Russian program based on the Ilyushin Il-214 design.

The two countries are expected to equally share the development cost of around $600 million. Russia and India will also win equal work share of the planned production of 205 aircraft – the expected orders from Russia, India and a number of countries that have already expressed interest in a future replacement of aging Russian made transport planes.  In India and Russia the MTA is slated to replace the aging fleet of An-32 transports. First flight of the IL-214 based MTA is expected in 2014 and the new transport could be operational by late 2015.

An Antonov An-32B of the Croatian Air Force releases flare countermeasures during a low-level pass. Photo: Goran Maravic

Unlike the Brazilian KC-390 program that dramatically took off in 2009, after two years of planning, the Indo-Russian MTA has been in the making since 1999, with the first Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between HAL and the Russian companies Ilyusihin and Irkut in 2001. It took six years for the parties  to agree on common requirements and specifications for the plane. In 2008 Irkut bailed out from the program, to focus on its Superjet-100 (MC-21) civil transport plane. Ilyushin, now an operating unit in the UAC consortium, was hoping to spinoff the MTA into a similar 100 seat aircraft, continued the cooperation. Only after, which will be upgraded now from a loose bilateral inter-governmental operation into a commercial JV. The inclusion of the Russian defense export agency is expected to streamline export activities to countries where Russia has extensive defense exports, particularly in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East where MTA will run head to head with the Brazilian KC-390.

The twin-jet powered MTA will have a Maximum Take-Off Weight of 65 tons and payload capacity of 15-20 tons. Its length will be 33.2 meters, with a wingspan of 30.1 m’ and height of 10m’. Powered by two Aviadvigatel PD-14 turbofan engines, MTA will be able to cruise at a speed of 800 km/h, to a range of 2,500-2,700 km with full payload. Service ceiling will be 12 km. meeting the requirement of both Indian and Russian Air Forces. The aircraft will feature fly-by-wire system, full authority digital engine control, and avionics suite configured as a modern ‘glass cockpit’. The MTA will be capable of takeoff and landing from a runway of 1200 meters.