Il-214 Multi-Role Transport Aircraft (MTA)
Multi-Purpose Transport Aircraft (MPTA)

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

Featuring a semi-monocoque fuselage, the aircraft's structure is made of advanced aluminium alloys and composites. Perfect aerodynamic layout with high-swept advanced wing and T-shape tail is optimized to ensure the flight safety and enhanced cruise speed. The airlifter is capable of operating from elevated airfields with paved/unpaved runways, in adverse weather conditions. The avionics' open architecture approach provides essential capacity for future innovations and upgrades. Sophisticated concept of the unified inform-and-control "field" envisions integration of six multifunctional displays with two head-up indicators. The spacious cargo cabin will accommodate up to 18.5 tonnes of cargo. The rear ramp will contribute to efficient airdrop operations, as well as to ease of loading/unloading. Two telphers, a cargo winch, and rollers comprise cargo-handling equipment.

The IL-214 is an aircraft with top-mounted wing and T-shaped tail empennage. The aircraft would be equipped with twin bypass turbo-jet engines of 9-10 ton thrust. As a prospective powerplant, the PS-9 engine manufactured by the JSC "Perm' Motor Works", Rolls-Royce BR-170, D-436T engines are contemplated. The cargo cabin is 13.85 m long (with account for the ramp - 17.8 m), and would be 3.0 m high and 3.15 m wide. The military transport version of the airplane would have the cargo ramp in the tail section and capable of paratroops deployment at flight speed of approximately 250 km/h. The aircraft estimated operational life is 20000 flight hours.

Initially, Ilyushin had the intention to build an aircraft with a payload capacity of 15 tons and maximum take-off mass of 47.3 tons. While the project proved to be of little interest in Russia, it did attract a major from India in the late 1990s. Thus, the Il-214 project - known as MTA aircraft (Multipurpose Transport Aircraft) and the IRTA (Indo-Russian Transport Aircraft) - was included in the Russian-Indian program on military and technical cooperation for a period through 2010.

In late 2000 the Government of India, the Aviation Complex after Ilyushin and the JSC "Irkutsk Aviation Industrial Association" signed an agreement stipulating development and production run of a multi-role transport aircraft IL-214T of 15-20 ton or 82 paratroopers load capacity and in its passenger version IL-214-100, for the capability of transportation of 100 passengers.

As a prototype of the new airplane, a military transport project of IL-214 aircraft was selected, the one that is being examined by the Air Force of Russia as a replacement for the obsolete Antonov An-12 as well as An-26. In India, the new aircraft is proposed to replace 110 An-32 transport aircraft.

By expert evaluation, the IL-214 could become a good alternative for the C-130, C-160, C-123, G-222 aircraft that operate in dozens of countries of the world in huge numbers. Financing of the project is planned in equal shares of the Parties. The production would possibly be run at both Indian HAL Corporation factory and the JSC "IAIA".

The business-plan for the project was to be finalized by the end of the year 2001, after the completion of its technical feasibility studies. The cost of the program is estimated at $300 million. Initial deliveries under the MMTA program could commence in seven years after the launch of the project. By one estimate, the first aircraft was initially expected by in the 2003-2005 timeframe. A detailed timetable for the program had not been specified. Estimated cost of the production aircraft would make $20-25 million.

In the course of a detailed working out and harmonization of the requirements set by Air Force of Russia and India, the MTA project was significantly changed from the Il-214 baseline, and the aircraft's payload capacity and cargo compartment dimensions were increased. None of the engines currently manufactured in Russia can be applied to the new aircraft. As of 2003 it was expected that a new 12-ton thrust class engine could be ready in Russia not earlier than by 2009-2010. Therefore, it is very likely that the Indian Defense Ministry will prefer a Western-made engine such as the Rolls-Royce BR715 or Snecma CFM56, which will allow to develop and flight test of the aircraft until Russian engines are ready. In 2003, Vladimir Mikhailov, the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force, and his deputies mentioned for the first time their intention to hold a competition for a new military transport aircraft to replace An-12, taking an intermediate position in the military transport aviation fleet between the light Il-112V and the heavy-lift Il-76MF aircraft. The Ministry of Defense was to be an official organizer of the tender in 2004, as the new aircraft was supposed to be used by all branches of the armed forces and other militarized bodies. However, it is the Air Force that will take the lead in bringing the tender committee to a final decision.

The An-12 has a 20-ton payload capacity with a maximum take-off weight of 61 tons. According to General Victor Denisov, commander of the 61st Air Army, the new aircraft's maximum take-off weight should be in the 65-80 ton range. Only Russian aircraft designers would be invited for the tender, and the outcome of the tender to a significant extent was to be determined by investment capacities of the wining bidder. The Ilyushin Il-214 meets specification set by the Russian Air Force more than any other Russian aircraft.

On 06 June 2004 a protocol was signed between Russia and India on beginning the joint construction of an Il-214 multi-role military cargo jet, Vice-Premier of the government of the Russian Federation Ilya Klebanov said. He heads the Russian part of the commission on military-technical cooperation with India. According to Klebanov, "this is an outstanding achievement, and Russia has not cooperated on such a scale with any country." He avoided commenting on the value of the contract, but stressed, that the project envisages development, tests and production of the jet. The Vice-Premier opined that the Il-214 will be the most promising aircraft of the 21st century.

The UAC council named Ilyushin as the basis for the "Cargo Aviation" business unit within UAC's corporate structure. This business unit will deal with development and production of ramp-equipped and converted (with a side-fuselage cargo door) freighters for civilian markets and airlifters for the military.

2007 Multi-Purpose Transport Aircraft (MPTA)

The decision on MTA's full-scale launch was made in November 2007, when a special agreement between the two countries' governments was signed. This long-planned Russian-Indian project will bring to life a next-generation tactical airlifter with maximum takeoff weight about 70 tons and a payload capability of 20 tons. New Delhi has agreed to directly invest $300 million for work to be done by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Russia will invest little, or nothing at all, in the given programs.

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 was to play a key role of major investor (40% of project expenses) and coordinator of the Russian side.

In March 2008 Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), clarified that the withdrawal of the Russian company, Irkutsk Aviation and Industrial Association as a partner from the $600 million, Indo-Russian Multi-role Transport Aircraft (MTA) joint venture is an internal Russian affair and did not indicate a collapse of the project. Rosoboronexport, Russia's state-owned monopoly liaison agency for the export and import of defence related and dual use products, technologies and services identified the Ilyushin Aviation Complex as the new prime nodal agency in place of Irkutsk.

In early 2008 it was agreed that the two sides will each contribute $300 million to create a joint venture. HAL ruled out the involvement of western partners in the program, something it also considered last year. HAL will design the front fuselage and wing, and also contribute to the development of the aircraft's avionics. Russian industry will work on the rear and center fuselage. Engines will be sourced from either Pratt & Whitney or Russian companies. The MTA will have a maximum payload of 18.5t, a range of 2,500km (1,350nm) and a speed of 470kt (870 km/h).

By 2015-2020 this transport aircraft with up to 18.5-t carrying capability is supposed to replace aging fleet of An-12, An-26, and C-130. Indian Air Force plans to acquire 45 Tactical Transport Aircraft. Additionally Russian market is estimated to demand nearly 100 transport aircraft before 2020. On 15 April 2008 it was reported that the Russian air force was to buy at least 50 of the Russian-Indian transport aircraft.

The Multi-Purpose Transport Aircraft (MPTA) is being developed within the framework of an interstate agreement between Russia and India. According to regulatory documents, the APT is classified as a strategic-tactical medium military transport aircraft ensuring transportation of a wide variety of different cargo up to 20 tons for a distance of 2,000 km from unpaved and artificial airstrips. The design provides for operation from high-level aerodromes in any geographical and climatic conditions, in daytime and nighttime, in easy and adverse weather conditions.

As a military transport aircraft, the MPTA is designed for transporting and parachuting of military personnel, equipment and cargo onto platforms, and low altitude free-drop delivery of cargo. The designed aircraft is made according tostandard aerodynamic design with a high-mounted moderate sweptback wing, T-tail unit and two turbojet engines placed on pylons under the wing.

It is planned to equip the airplane with two dual-flow turbojet PS-90A-76engines, with the maximum takeoff thrust of 16 000 kgf. The concept of the aviation electronics complex allows for modernization and expansion opportunities due to its open architecture. The unified information and control field of the cockpit will unite six multifunctional LCD displays and two LCD indicators on the windshield. The in-flight refueling system is installed only upon specific request of the customer.

The flight crew includes three persons: chief pilot, co-pilot, and navigator. The aircraft design envisages installation of an additional seat for the flight engineer.

The accepted design parameters, cargo compartment dimensions and MPTA power plantensure its capacity to carry up to 80% of arms and military equipment in service today. Dimensions of cross-section of the airproof cargo compartment of the MPTA are identical to similar dimensions of the cargo compartment in the Il-76MD heavy military transport aircraft, which allows using all existing infrastructure for handling, transportation and landing means. The aircraft design ensures autonomous (without contact with the home airfield) solving of transportation tasks and flight preparations by the efforts of technical and flight crews from 2 to 6 persons.

With account of the high export potential of this aircraft, its design takes into thorough consideration the requirements of both Indian and Russian air forces, as well as those of other would-be customers.A substantial advantage of the MPTA over its rivals is its relatively low price.

The further development of this aircraft is proposed, by creating these following modifications:

  • radar surveillance and guidance systems aircraft;
  • patrol and reconnaissance aircraft;
  • airborne relay aircraft;
  • search and rescue aircraft;
  • air jamming station;
  • refueling aircraft.

The new Russian-Indian military transport plane could make its maiden flight by 2018, the head of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) said 11 March 2010. Russia and India signed an intergovernmental agreement on the joint development of a multi-role transport aircraft (MTA) in 2007. The cost of the $600-mln project is being equally shared by the two countries. "We are at the initial stage of the project. Maybe in 6-8 years we shall have the prototype aircraft flying," Ashok Nayak said. "Initially we expect to produce about 205 aircraft of which 30% will go on the world market," the HAL chairman said. Of these, 100 will go to the Russian Air Force.

Meanwhile, there was a competitor the Ukrainian An-178. However, it has a problem, too: the transfer of the full production cycle to Russia meets with resistance from the Antonov Design Bureau, which would rather get an order for the manufacture itself than cede the license to Russian plants.

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