The world’s largest wide body cargo aircraft-Mriya (Dream), an An-225, is expected to make its India debut with its landing at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad on Friday.
The Ukraine-based, Antonov Company’s aircraft is powered by six turbofan engines and is the longest and heaviest airplane ever built, with a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tonnes. Built first in the 1980s, it also has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in operations.
Specially built to undertake transcontinental route airlifting load between 180-230 tonnes, the aircraft will be coming in to Hyderabad from Turkmenistan, according to a press release.Reliance Defence had last month signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement with the Ukraine firm for assembly, manufacture & MRO of Antonov platforms in India, both for the commercial and military markets.
India needs over 200 medium lift turbofan aircraft valued at Rs. 35,000 crores which is the backbone of all tactical Logistic Transport Support Role as well as Route Transport Role of the Air Force, Army and Para military forces, the release said.The joint venture between Reliance-Antonov will address various requirements including the 50-80 seat passenger aircraft programme of HAL, in its basic configuration and in all its variants such as transport, maritime patrol and other military roles.Antonov or An class of aircraft have served the Indian Air Force and Navy for over five decades. Currently, the IAF has more than 100 An-32 aircraft on its inventory.
The joint venture would provide the benefits of quality and low-cost solution for 50-80 seater aircraft. It also envisages design and manufacture of the medium lift dual use turbofan aircraft in India with transfer of niche technologies.Low level tactical missions by this aircraft are aided by modern day avionics and navigation systems powered by fly-by-wire systems in all weather round-the-clock operations.