07 Desember 2009

Indian Panel OKs Joint Aircraft Effort With Russia

7 Desember 2009

Concept of Multirole Transport Aircraft (image : knol)

NEW DELHI - India's highest decision-making body on security matters gave its approval Dec. 3 to the joint development with Russia of a multirole transport aircraft (MTA).

The clearance by the Cabinet Committee on Security here will pave the way for a formal agreement to be signed during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Russia, beginning Dec. 6.

The plan calls for India and Russia to jointly build 210 MTAs, with Russia buying 100 and India buying the rest. The agreement will include an option for India to buy 100 more MTAs for its Army and other security forces.

Despite a 2002 memorandum of understanding to forge a joint venture to build the aircraft in India, no headway has been made on the project. The formal agreement likely will be inked during Singh's Moscow visit, an Indian Defence Ministry official said.

MTA cutaway (image : keypublishing)

Russia's Irkutsk Aviation and Industrial Association, llyushin Aviation Complex and Rosoboronexport have decided to participate in the MTA program with India's state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) on an equity-sharing basis.

The Russians will finance nearly $300 million of the aircraft's development costs, the Defence Ministry official said. HAL also will supply $300 million for the effort after getting firm orders for the 15-ton MTA from the Indian Air Force, the ministry official added.

The MTA is intended to replace the Air Force's transport aircraft, most of which were bought from Russia. India has about 100 medium-lift An-32s and about 20 heavy-lift Il-76s.

In 2008, India signed a contract for the purchase of six C-130 Hercules transport planes from the U.S.

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