As with China and Turkey, India is striving to join the ranks of prominent world powers by becoming a recognized exporter of indigenously designed military goods for budget-conscious shoppers throughout Asia and elsewhere. India certainly can provide the manpower and will to make itself a 1st tier power though it suffers from technological and engineering experience limitations in certain areas - forced to rely on outside help to see more complex projects through. Currently, the Indian industrial-complex is developing an array of small arms, armored vehicles, warships, submarines, and aircraft all its own - including the highly-touted, still- in-development HAL "Tejas" multirole fighter. To help bring along a new medium-lift tactical transport, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) of India has partnered with the Russian concern of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) which has, under its umbrella, defense industry names like Ilyushin and Irkut at its service.
The aircraft in question is currently designated as "IL-214" and known by the rather appropriate project name of "Multirole Transport Aircraft" (MTA). Multirole Transport Aircraft Ltd was arranged as the joint venture company to handle the new system. A scale model of the MTA was displayed at Aero India 2009.
Externally, the IL-214 showcases common design themes seen in other medium-lift, jet-powered airlifters - its wing mainplanes are swept back and set high on the fuselage (while featuring underslung engine nacelles), the flight deck is aft of a short nosecone for excellent viewing out-of-the-cockpit, and a raised empennage section allows for the needed access to the rear cargo hold ramp. The tail unit displays a "T-style" arrangement to keep the horizontal planes clear of the jet exhaust and the undercarriage will rely on a multi-bogie wheeled approach under center mass with a double-wheeled leg held under the nose. An in-flight refueling probe is visible over the cockpit roof for nearly unlimited operational ranges.
Internally, the IL-214 is expected to have a cargo capacity equal to that of the Soviet-era Ilyushin IL-76MD transport model. Volume will be enough to carry up to 140 combat personnel and will serve up to 90 fully-equipped paratroopers. The aircraft will also be able to conduct MEDAVAC sorties and haul patient litters and staff as well as applicable mission equipment. Cargo pallets will also be supported as will whole military vehicles such as HUMVEE-sized 4x4 wheeled types. Beyond this the aircraft will be given a capability to air-drop goods as required. Beyond its obvious military applications the IL-214 will also be marketed as a civilian freighter.
Low and high altitude performance will be key considerations in the IL-214 design and its engines are slated to be 2 x Aviadvigatel PD-14M turbofans outputting 34,392 lb of thrust each. The aircraft is intended for all-weather operation and, coupled to a rugged fuselage, will be made capable of performing take-offs and landings from both prepared and unprepared runways providing something of a tactical advantage in any warzone.
At this point, HAL of India is slated to manufacture the frontal section of the fuselage and the wing mainplanes and it will also lend a hand in development of the avionics fit. Russian company Irkut will provide the remaining sections of the fuselage. Development is a joint venture between HAL and UAC. The Russian Air Force is planning on procuring some 100 of the type while the Indian Air Force (IAF) is scheduled to take delivery of 105 units and offer at least sixty of these for export. The IAF will use the IL-214 to replace its aging stock of Antonov An-32 haulers.
Current specifications include a length of 37.7 meters with a wingspan of 35.5 meters and a height of 12.95 meters. Payload capacity is in the 44,000 lb range with a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) listed at 150,000 lb. Performance estimates include a maximum speed of 540 miles per hour, a cruise speed of 505 miles per hour, a range of 4,535 miles, and a service ceiling reaching 43,000 feet.
Originally, the program expected to see a first flight during 2014 but this did not prove realistic for the slowly-evolving product. As such, a first flight is now targeted for sometime in 2017 with service entry expected during 2018 or shortly thereafter.
June 2016 - It was revealed that HAL of India will no longer be involved in the development or production of the planned MTA. Instead, Ilyushin (United Aircraft Corporation) will go it alone and develop the IL-276 SVTS in its place.
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