Indo-Russian multi-role transport aircraft JV may take off in two months

Moscow: India and Russia are likely to sign a 50-50 joint venture deal for the development of a multi-role transport aircraft (MRTA), in the coming two months, a top Russian official has said."We have already identified sources of financing and worked out the business plan," president of Irkut Aircraft Corporation, Oleg Demchenko, was quoted as saying by Interfax military news agency.

The MRTA would be a fifty-fifty, jointly financed project between Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) on the one side and Russia's Irkut, Ilyushin and Rosoboronexport corporations on the other. The JV will be tasked with developing a hi-tech transport plane for the armed forces of the two countries and would also seek to tap the international market.

The MRTA JV is expected to kick off with a corpus of $600 million (about Rs2,700 crore), and eventually, is expected to produce 145 military and 60 civil transport aircraft over the next 4-5 years.

The MRTA is aimed at replacing ageing Soviet-era Antonov transport aircraft in service with air forces of both countries and would be assembled simultaneously in India and Russia.