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SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG

In 2012, India and Russia agreed to Jointly develop Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA) which Russians Call Il-214 but in 2016, India decided to withdraw from the program after serious difference cropped up due to technical specification of the Transporter forcing IAF to advise its government to back off the program.

MTA/Il-214 was supposed to replace aging An-32 light military transport aircraft which India had procured from soviet Unions in the early ’80s. IAF operates over 100 of them across the breadth of the country and is known as a workhorse of the Indian Air Force which is regularly used to access Strategically placed Airbases in Northeast and other regions for the supply of materials, equipment and for deployment of Troops.

Proposed Multirole Transport Aircraft [MTA] twin-jet air-lifter was much bigger and better than the Turboprop driven An-32 Transporter it was going to replace in India, but after Ukraine based Antonov company offered its Antonov An-178 and AN?132 to India to replace aging its Avro and An-32 fleet which has promoted Russia to offer another twin-turboprop to India.

The Ilyushin IL-112V light military transport aircraft is currently going through pre-flight preparations for its debut flight this year and already it has been offered to India. IL-112V will replace the current fleet of 115 An-26 in the Russian air force. The Il-112 has similar weights and dimensions to the An-26 it is intended to replace but differs by having a notably larger cabin cross-section, allowing it to accommodate 44 armed soldiers instead of 38 and almost double the ferry range due to better engines.

AN?132 offered by Ukraine is an upgraded design of An-26/32 aircraft with Western origin engines and modern western avionics which allows current fleet owners of An-26 and An-32 cheaper alternative with minimum Infrastructure investment and with Western engines and avionics. IL-112V is on other hand powered by two Klimov TB7-117CT turboprop engines and is quite similar to AN?132 in maximum take-off weight carrying capacity.

India is yet to confirm which aircraft it will be selecting to replacing its aging fleet of An-32 aircraft, but there have been calls from Military experts in India to club An-32 and Avro aircraft replacement program into one and procure Tata-Airbus consortium proposed C295 aircraft to replace Avro in India and expand the current orders for 56 aircraft into around 170 so that both An-32 and Avro aircraft can be replaced by C295.

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