Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd inks pact with Russia to make multi-role aircraft

State-run defence behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has entered into a contract with Russian firm United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) to manufacture 205 multi-role transport aircraft (MTA) in 15-20 tonne-class for the Indian Air Force (IAF), Russian Air Force (RAF) and other countries.

The Indo-Russian partners have roped in another Russian firm – Multirole Transport Aircraft Ltd (MTAL) – as third partner in the joint venture for the project, the $2.6-billion HAL said in a statement here Tuesday.

According to initial estimates, the RAF will require 100 aircraft, while the IAF 45 and the remaining 60 will be sold to third countries as export.

“The aircraft will be designed for cargo/troop transportation; para-drop/air drop of supplies, including low altitude parachute extraction system,” HAL Chairman R.K. Tyagi said in the statement a day after the pact was signed here.

As part of the deal, HAL will design and develop the MTA at its aircraft research and development centre (ARDC) in this tech hub, while its transport aircraft division at Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh will manufacture prototypes and commence serial production after the certification process.

“Our primary objective is to achieve self-reliance in design and development and production of an MTA and manage the programme with international collaboration and global suppliers,” Tyagi said.

HAL will also share the unspecified development cost of systems and manufacture of components, sub-assemblies and composite structure.

The tripartite contract was based on the inter-government pact signed earlier by the Indian and Russian governments for joint design, development and production of the aircraft on 50:50 cost sharing basis by the joint venture partners.

The joint venture will also work with Russia’s aerospace major Rosoboronexport to co-develop the aircraft.

“We will showcase our expertise in designing the aircraft and its systems, manufacturing and flight testing in collaboration with our Russian partners in Moscow and India,” Tyagi said.

The Kanpur facility had manufactured transport aircraft such as Avros HS-748 and Dornier Do-228 in the past for the services.

In all, the company manufactured 89 Avros from 1964 to 1984 and 116 Dorniers from 1984 to March 2012.

Two Dorniers were exported to Mauritius, while one export order to Seychelles is under execution.

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