Russia, India may sign military transport plane deal in August

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MOSCOW, August 1 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and India may sign an intergovernmental agreement on the joint development of a multi-role transport aircraft (MTA) as early as August, a Russian aircraft manufacturer said Wednesday.

"During recent talks in India, we reached a preliminary understanding that an intergovernmental agreement on the development of a new Russian-Indian medium military transport aircraft would be signed either in August, during the MAKS-2007 air show near Moscow, or in September," an Irkut Corporation spokesman said.

The MTA medium transport aircraft project envisions the development of a transport plane with a 20-ton cargo capacity to be in service with the Russian and Indian Air Force.

The Russian participants in the project include the Ilyushin design bureau and the Irkut Corporation [RTS:IRKT], which is part of Russia's United Aircraft Building Corporation (UABC), created in 2006 and which manufactures variants of the famed Su-30MK for India, Algeria and Malaysia.

India is represented in the project by its HAL state-owned aircraft manufacturing company.

Both countries are expected to procure at least 100 MTA planes each, with Russia facing the need to replace its outdated fleet of An-12, An-26 and An-32 transport planes.

The MTA aircraft is expected to make a maiden flight in 2012, with the first deliveries targeted for 2014.

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