Contract inked with UAC-TA of Russia and joint venture partner MTAL

The $600-million Indo-Russian military transport aircraft project, the Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA), moved a significant step forward, with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and its two partners signing the initial design phase contract in New Delhi on Friday.

The agreement comes ahead of the state visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin, beginning on October 31.

The Bangalore-based HAL inked the contract with the United Aircraft Corporation-Transport Aircraft (UAC-TA) of Russia, and their 50:50 joint venture partner, Multirole Transport Aircraft Ltd (MTAL). The three signed the earlier general contract in May this year.

The MTA, when developed, will have ready market for 205 aircraft — 45 for the Indian Air Force, 100 for the Russian Air Force, and 60 more for exporting to friendly countries.

The 15-20-tonne aircraft is meant to transport troops and cargo, paradrop or airdrop supplies, including a ‘low-altitude parachute extraction system’.

It will be developed by HAL, UAC and the Russian Defence export arm, Rosoboronexport, through MTAL.

“HAL and UAC-TA will start the initial design work immediately in Moscow. A HAL team, consisting of 30 designers, will be positioned at UAC-TA,” a HAL release said, citing HAL’s Chairman R.K. Tyagi, who was present at the signing event. The 10-month initial design phase will be followed by a Detailed Design Phase contract (DDP), under which the design of the plane will be finalised.

Initiated in November 2007, the MTA project is meant to make the country self-reliant in the design, development and production of transport aircraft of this dimension, and the experience required to manage a large number of global suppliers.

The latest contract was signed by T. Suvarnaraju, HAL’s Director (Design and Development), and S. Velmozhkin, General Director, UAC-TA.