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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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