Slow progress of the project IL-214
All these events, related to deadlines, eventually led to a complete revision of the time frame in which it is planned to complete one or another stage of development, testing, etc. In September, during the signing of the contract, representatives of the Russian and Indian aviation industries called the new date of the first flight of an experienced IL-214. The prototype will fly only in 2017 year. As for the start of operation, then it is worth waiting no earlier than 2019 of the year. Plans of past years, implying the beginning of the supply of serial machines to the 2015 year, by itself, have already ceased to correspond to reality.
It is quite clear that the delay in the creation of a promising multi-purpose aircraft has certain grounds. In the design plan, IL-214 is not something special or complex. According to available data, the new aircraft must be equipped with two turbofan engines, have a maximum take-off weight of the order of 70 tons, 20 of which will fall on the payload. The plane must fly to a range of about 2,5-3 thousands of kilometers. In addition, the terms of reference implies the current requirements of fuel efficiency and efficiency.
As we see, the future IL-214 will become, in general, a good transport aircraft, able to replace the outdated technology of the relevant sector, such as An-12, An-26, etc. A twenty-ton payload was also of interest to the Indian military, which is why they joined the MTA program. However, joint plans for the development and construction of the aircraft did not help reduce the time required for work. One of the main causes of problems with the timing are considered the latest events around the Russian company Ilyushin. In the past few years, this company took a direct part in the events around the Tashkent Aviation Production Association. Chkalov (TAPO). In 2007, Russia and Uzbekistan reached a preliminary agreement on the inclusion of TAPO in the United Aircraft Building Corporation. Just a year after the agreement, the Uzbek side rejected such integration. For a number of economic reasons, the Russian aircraft manufacturers then continued to transfer their production to domestic enterprises, resulting in the recent start of testing the first IL-76MD-90А aircraft. The transfer of production of the Il-76 family of aircraft from Tashkent to Ulyanovsk has hit the Illyushin's capabilities with respect to the creation of new designs quite strongly. In addition, the IL-214 / MTS / MTA program constantly hampered financial problems, which ultimately resulted in its current position.
Currently, there is every reason to believe that the IL-214 / MTA project will finally get off the ground. In any case, the countries participating in the project are already making plans to buy ready-made aircraft. Russia's needs are estimated at no less than a hundred of these machines, and the Indians will have half as many. It is worth noting that further quantitative requirements are subject to change. Also, a number of multi-purpose aircraft can be sold to third countries. The export prospects of the Il-214 aircraft are currently estimated at 75-100 units. At the same time, potential customers still have only preliminary information of the most general nature, which is clearly not enough to assess the prospects and feasibility of buying such aircraft. Therefore, over the next few years it will be early to talk about the specific export prospects of the MTA project.
Noteworthy is the reaction of the Indian side to large delays in the development of the new aircraft. In fact, New Delhi did not make any serious complaints. Moreover, according to some sources, the Indian side even offered Russia to change the financing of the project. Naturally, "in exchange" for various preferences of the economic plan. Nevertheless, even now India is completely satisfied with the project’s progress and it is quietly awaiting the end of development. The fact is that the IL-214 is considered by the Indian military as a convenient and promising machine. Currently, the most massive military transport aircraft in the Indian Air Force is the An-32 with a payload of up to seven and a half tons. In accordance with the new views of the command of the Indian army, over the next few years, new IL-214s with almost three times as much carrying capacity should take their place. In addition, India is currently purchasing Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport aircraft from the United States with a payload capacity of the future MTA. The joint Russian-Indian project involves the production of IL-214 for India in the factories of the company HAL. Thus, IL-214 will also replace American technology, besides providing India with jobs in its own enterprises.
As a result of all the “adventures”, the IL-214 / MTS project is in an interesting position. The positive aspects of the current situation are the good prospects of an aircraft with a carrying capacity of about twenty tons and a range of about two and a half thousand kilometers. At the same time, the future air truck will fly only in five years, and then it will be possible to talk about some of its specific capabilities and commercial potential. I would like to hope that the signing of an agreement on the start of joint design work will entail the active development of the new aircraft and the next news about the project IL-214 appear faster than ten years.
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