AERO INDIA: HAL mulls larger military transports

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The joint Indo-Russian development of a medium multi-role transport aircraft could provide the impetus for Hindustan Aeronautics to look into larger aircraft in the future.

"This is the first time we are embarking on a large-sized aircraft. We could to learn from this, and this could open the opportunity to develop a larger transport aircraft for the Indian Air Force. We won't do it immediately, but there is no reason why we should not do it," says NC Agarwal, HAL's director for design and development.

HAL has signed a deal with Russia's United Aircraft (UAC) and Rosoboronexport to co-develop and co-produce the 15-20t multi-role transport aircraft for the Indian and Russian air forces. About $600 million will be spent on developing the aircraft, with India and Russia investing equally and HAL and UAC splitting workshare 50:50.

The firms plan to make 205 of the aircraft, which will have a cruise speed of 430kt (800km/h), a range of up to 1,460nm (2,700km) and a service ceiling of 39,400ft (12,000m).