In late December 2006, Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) announced a $700-million joint venture (JV) agreement with Irkut Corporation of Russia for manufacturing 60-tonne multi-role transport aircraft (MRTA). Under this 50/50 arrangement with HAL, Ilyushin Design Bureau of Russia would design the MRTA (now MTA) and Irkut corporation of Russia will develop the aircraft, while series production would be taken up by the transport aircraft division of HAL at Kanpur. Irkut is a major investor (40% of project expenses), and will be the coordinator of the Russian side. For HAL, the move is part of an effort to forge new partnerships with global aviation majors for military and civil projects, with an eye on trebling their annual turnover to $3 billion by 2011.
The project has moved very slowly, even as competitors like the C-130J gained traction around the world, including in India, and future rivals like the KC-390 began picking up international partners. Now, a joint venture is supposed to get underway to build 145 aircraft for its initial customers in Russia and India.