I am not sticking anything to the IAF. How else I am going to identify the people
But this is not the first article on this. The Indian and Russian could never agree on the engine. But this is the first article, I have read that gives a semblance of a reason.
The reasons offered were always related to performance esp. in hot-and-high conditions. A bomber variant was never a consideration. Not that it would change the engine requirements anyway.
The reliability offered by a FADEC engine would have always been a priority. For a transporter lifting off from a high altitude base in summertime, losing one of its two engines has the potential to become a total nightmare (esp. given the mountainous terrain unsuitable for a simple glide-belly flop).
For 15 months, HAL has been in conversation with the Indian Air Force, a process that hasn’t been smooth. The IAF’s concerns centre around the twin Aviadvigatel PD-14M turbofan engines intended to power the platform. Sources say the IAF has indicated four major critera in engine performance on paper that don’t match stated performance requirements in terms of altitude, re-light characteristics (the official I spoke to requested that Livefist did not report specifics). It hasn't helped that late last year, the United Aircraft Corp. reported a rise in project cost, suggesting that HAL would need to be in for more than the $300 million initially agreed upon when the programme kicked off. Never good. A six-man team from HAL leaves for Russia early next month for what officials described as 'resolutionary discussions'. - Shiv Aroor
Be that as it may the IAF continues to be unsatisfied with the Aviadvigatel PS-90A76 engine that Ilyushin is proposing for the MTA. The PS-90A76 has already been selected for the Il-76MD-90/90A transport and was identified as the primary candidate for powering the development prototype of the MTA as well as the initial batch of production aircraft which are slated to roll out by 2020. However according to sources in HAL the IAF wants an engine that can relight at an altitude that is beyond the capabilities of the PS-90A76 or that of any contemporary high bypass turbofan for that matter. - Saurav Jha
Officials in both countries have shared with ET that the MTA project - which plans to develop a new 20 ton transporter to replace the ageing Indian fleet of An 32 aircraft with a $ 300 million investment from each side - is on thin ground with Moscow now planning to go ahead alone if the Indian side does not come on board.
The main point of contention is the engine for the new generation transporter. Sources in India have told ET that the air force is insisting on a new generation engine with a full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system to give adequate power to the new plane.
However, due to delays in the project, Moscow is now going ahead with a different engine, the PS 90 that powers its new generation IL 76 transporters for the MTA project. The Russian side believes that the new variant of its PS 90 engine will offer adequate performance for the aircraft and a FADEC power plant is not necessary. - Manu Pubby
There's also the other factor. The IAF passed on the Il-476, went out of its way to push the MRTT Airbus' way and issued a global tender for Il-76 support. Acc. to ACM Raha even its relatively new Il-78 are plagued with serviceability issues. Maybe it just didn't want the potential headaches an MTA acquisition might entail, which for all the 'JV' talk would have basically been an Ilyushin product.