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Multi-Role Transport Aircraft (MTA)

After a rather long period, the requirements for the appearance of the Russian-Indian MTA (Multipurpose Transport Aircraft) aircraft were formed. However, the risks associated with the implementation of part of the requirements led to the "freezing" of this project in 2015, although legally the Indians still did not completely abandon it. A set of requirements, which were presented for the aircraft, led to a high degree of technical risks. As soon as the degree of novelty in the project exceeded a certain threshold, there were questions related either to the timing of implementation, or to the attainability of the declared characteristics, or to the price.

On June 6, 2001, a protocol on the commencement of work on the development of a joint multi-role four-engined turboprop transport aircraft IL-214 was signed between Russia and India. For the Russian Party, the Protocol was signed by Mr. Ilya Klebanov, the Vice-Premier of the Government of Russia, for the Indian Party - by Mr. Jaswant Singh, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Defense. Mr. Klebanov commented that the IL-214 would be the most promising aircraft of the XXI century.

In India, the new aircraft was proposed to replace 110 An-32 transport aircraft. For HAL, which pulled out of the trans-national Sukhoi Superjet 100 or Russian Regional Jet project, the MRTA was a shot in the arm in its quest to design and manufacture a transport aircraft. For the IAF, which had an inventory of around 80 of the 5.5 tonne An-32 medium tactical transport aircraft, also known as the 'Metac', the larger MRTA will mean a swifter and larger movement of paratroopers

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.

In May 2013, the MoD issued a global tender —called a “request for proposals” or RfP — to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), including US firms, Boeing and Lockheed Martin; European multinational Airbus Defence & Space; Antonov of Ukraine; Swedish company Saab; Ilyushin of Russia; and Italian company, Alenia Aeromacchi. These OEMs were required to partner an Indian private company to build 40 aircraft in the country, after delivering the first 16 off-the-shelf, all within eight years.

Yet, for various reasons, only one OEM bid. Among those left out was Antonov, of Ukraine, which had partnered Larsen & Toubro (L&T) in a proposal to build the An-132 aircraft in India. However, political turmoil in Ukraine stalled its bid. The Swedish company, which wanted to supply the Saab-2000 aircraft, did not bid because the MoD was unwilling to let it build all 56 aircraft in India. The RfP insisted that 16 aircraft must be supplied in flyaway condition. Saab, having shut down its line in Sweden, wanted to build all the aircraft in India, which the RfP did not provide for.

Russian manufacturer Ilyushin wanted to supply the IL-214 Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA) which was being developed as a joint venture of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) of Russia and Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) of India. The MTA was expected to replace the Indian Air Force's aging fleet of Antonov An-32 transport aircraft.

R. P. Chakraborty, Deputy General Manager (IMM) at HAL said August 29, 2013 "in the case of MTA, it’s not the Russian government that requires it. We need it". The MTA will replace India’s Antonov An-32 transport aircraft and should enter the Indian Air Force by 2018.

By early 2015 the earliest that IAF was expected to receive the first aircraft in 2018-19, though not much was known about its progress.

On 06 February 2015 India cancelled its international tender on medium-lift military transport aircraft. The country would instead purchase Multi-Role Transport Aircraft (MTA) designed and being manufactured jointly by India and Russia. India did not find the proposal of participants in the tender for supplying 56 aircraft worth $3 billion satisfactory. As a result, the Defense Ministry not only declined the deal, but also cancelled the tender altogether.

HAL received five proposals on its proposal to select a partner to manufacture a 50-80 seater aircraft in India. Antonov, GKN Aerospace, IAI, Ilyushin and ATR placed bids for the project. Out of the five bids, by May 2016 Antonov emerged as a clear winner as it met all the requirements set by HAL. Antonov's aircraft were of recent design with state-of-the-art aviation systems like fly-by-wire, high-efficiency engines and all-weather operations.

By the end of 2020 HAL had yet to formally terminate its 2012 Ilyushin-Il-278 Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA) joint venture (JV) project with Russia, in which each side had initially invested $300 million apiece. Intended as a replacement for the IAF’s fleet of legacy Antonov An-32 ‘Cline’ transport aircraft that entered service with it 1986 onwards, the MTA was scheduled to conduct its first test flight by 2017, but never did.

The Defence Acquisition Council cleared the Indian Air Force's plan to buy 56 C295 aircraft in 2015, with the Coast Guard order following later. The Indian Air Force selected the C295 as the replacement for its ageing fleet of Avro 748 transport aircraft.

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Page last modified: 21-11-2021 18:39:19 ZULU