India, Russia finalize transport aircraft project

By Gulshan Luthra, IANS,

New Delhi : India and Russia have finalized arrangements to jointly develop the Multi-role Transport Aircraft (MTA) with each side pooling in $300.35 million.

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According to the coming issue of India Strategic defence magazine, New Delhi cleared the contribution in August.

The Russian side has already cleared the way for giving its share to a new company being formed by United Aircraft Corp (UAC) and India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).

The new company, with $600.70 million in its kitty, will begin work on developing the MTA.

India Strategic quoted HAL chairman and managing director Ashok Nayak as saying that India would acquire 45 aircraft and Russia 105.

There would be scope for exporting this aircraft, both for civil and military use, and more could be manufactured.

He said the formal charter documents were likely to be signed this month with a Russian delegation due to visit New Delhi.

Russia has maintained its traditional Soviet days’ lead in supplying military aircraft to India.

Over the last one and a half decades, it has won orders to supply nearly $20 billion worth of aircraft, systems and support elements including maintenance and upgrades for 272 SU30 MKI combat jets, 139 Mi17 V5 helicopters, and upgrades for SU30 as well as old Mig21bis and Mig29 aircraft.

The two countries had signed the Inter-governmental Agreement in November 2007 after Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony visited Moscow.