United Aircraft says Russian/Indian transport to fly in 2017

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Russia's United Aircraft (UAC) has provided new schedule information about its Medium Transport Aircraft (MTA) joint venture with India, with the type due to make its first flight in 2017.

UAC says 31 engineers from Hindustan Aeronautics have started work on the project at its premises in Moscow, with the specialists to spend 10 months in the Russian capital. Ilyushin engineers are also involved in the programme.

Moscow and New Delhi signed a joint deal on 12 October to advance the MTA, with the pair having a potential requirement to buy 100 and 45 examples respectively. UAC believes export opportunities could exist to sell a further 60 of the aircraft.

"MTA is expected to perform its maiden flight in 2017 and serial production is planned to be launched in 2019," UAC said in a 4 December statement.

The twin-engined aircraft has been designed to have a maximum payload capacity of between 15t and 20t, and to have a cruise speed of 432kt (800km/h). Capable of performing short take-off and landing operations, the transport will have an operating range of up to 1,500nm (2,700km), UAC says.