Military transport aircraft are typically fixed and rotary wing cargo aircraft which are used to deliver troops, weapons and other military equipment by a variety of methods to any area of military operations around the surface of the planet, usually outside of the commercial flight routes in uncontrolled airspace. Originally derived from bombers, military transport aircraft were used for delivering airborne forces during the Second World War and towing military gliders. Some military transport aircraft are tasked to performs multi-role duties such as aerial refueling and, tactical, operational and strategic airlifts onto unprepared runways, or those constructed by engineers. Here is the list of top 5 under development around the world.
1 – UAC/HAL Multirole Transport Aircraft
The UAC/HAL Il-214 Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA) is a medium-lift military transport aircraft which will be constructed by a joint-venture formed by the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) of Russia and the Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) of India.It is estimated that around $600 million will be spent on the aircraft’s development, with India and Russia to share the investment equally. HAL and UAC will have 50:50 stake in the workshare.The international project on joint development, production and sales of twin-turbofan Tactical Transport Aircraft is a combined effort of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (India), the IRKUT Corporation and the Ilyushin Aviation Complex (Russia), with their design teams merged into a virtual enterprise. By 2015-2020 this transport aircraft with up to 18.5-t carrying capability would replace the aging fleet of An-12, An-26, and C-130. The Indian Air Force plans to acquire 45 Tactical Transport Aircrafts. Additionally Russian market is estimated to demand nearly 100 transport aircraft before 2020. On 15 April 2008 it was reported that the Russian air force was to buy at least 50 of the Russian-Indian transport aircraft.
2 – Kawasaki XC-2
The Kawasaki XC-2 (previously C-X) is a military transport aircraft being developed by Kawasaki Heavy Industries for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). The JASDF plans to buy 40 aircrafts to replace its aging Kawasaki C-1 and C-130 Hercules fleets. The aircraft is about the same size as the A400M and the old Lockheed C-141. The engines are GE CF6-80C2s and major airframe parts are shared with the Kawasaki XP-1 maritime patroller. The main component that is shared includes the wing. The designers adapted it to different speed regimes of the two aircrafts by simply altering the sweep angle. The combined development cost of these two projects is reportedly 340 billion yen ($3.8 billion) .
3 – Ilyushin Il-112
The Ilyushin Il-112V is a light military transport aircraft developed by Ilyushin for air landing and airdrop of military cargoes, equipment and personnel. The IL-112V is equipped with avionics that combines the entire equipment complexes and systems into an integrated complex, known as The On board equipment integrated complex. All aviation information as well as information on the operation of aircraft systems is displayed on 6 LCD monitors. The high-wing Il-112 utility turboprop is a shrunk version of the low-wing Il-114 which was launched in 2000. The fuselage is 6.2m shorter, but the type retains the –114’s Klimov TV7-117 turboprops. A military Il-112V with a loading ramp and 11-seat corporate shuttle versions will also be offered. The Ilyushin Il-114 was designed to fill what could ultimately be a very large requirement to replace ageing fleets of turboprop airliners, including the Antonov An-24, in service on regional routes within Russia and other CIS states.
4 – Embraer KC-390
The Embraer KC-390 is a medium-size, twin-engine jet-powered military transport aircraft under development by Brazilian aerospace manufacturer Embraer. It will be the heaviest aircraft that the company has made so far, and will also be able to transport up to 21 tonnes (23 tons) of cargo, including wheeled armored vehicles. Embraer has an enviable record of recognizing gaps in the market and filling them before competitors latch on to the idea, usually benefiting from a sizable market share. But although the Brazilian company sold a substantial number of Tucano trainers, it hasn’t fared well with the Super Tucano.The sales of the special mission variants of its ERJ 145 regional airliner have also been limited. The aircraft design will belong to the Brazilian government, with Embraer as the lead technical and industrial partner. All talks to join the program will be conducted at a government-to-government level, and the process of adding “risk sharing” partners will be a top-down process that results in directives handed down to Embraer. These subsequent arrangements can create program risks, and obstacles to an aggressive schedule, if the partners selected by the Brazilian government fail to perform on an industrial level.
5 – Airbus A400M
The Airbus A400M is a multi-national four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft being designed by Airbus Military as a tactical airlifter with strategic capabilities. The aircraft’s maiden flight, originally planned for 2008, took place on 11 December 2009 in Seville, Spain.
The A400M is expected to use same type of 6-by-8-inch LCD displays supplied by Thales Avionics to the A380, employing the ARINC 661 protocol to standardize interactivity management and same electronic centralized aircraft monitoring (ECAM) system. Performance is guaranteed with a two-member flight crew, but an optional, forward-looking third crew station with a multifunction display and controls is also planned. The third crewmember will have an access to the overhead panel and “can do everything except fly,” says Darboux. The removable extra crew station, located just behind the center pedestal, will allow close crew coordination and offload communications and countermeasures tasks during demanding instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) and low-level flight operations.
“The A400M contract is an extremely critical step,” says John Pike, Director of Globalsecurity.org a defense policy research group. “I have no doubt that eventually, [the A400M] will be a fine airplane for the European military. Whether it will be anything more is why everybody is watching it.” Airbus will have a “substantial learning curve, getting a workable design and getting [countries like] India, Nigeria and Argentina to replace existing aircraft and maintenance capabilities with a new and unfamiliar product.” Ukrainian plane maker Antonov, with its An-12 base, is also a strong contender ,Pike says. He further added “[The A400M] could be not much more than a technological curiosity or it could completely remake worldwide military airlift.”