An An-32 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) went missing over Arunachal Pradesh on Monday. It got airborne from Jorhat in Assam at 1225 hrs for the Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh.
“The aircraft last contacted with ground agencies at 1300 hrs. Thereafter, there has been no contact. Since the aircraft did not reach the airfield, overdue action was initiated,” sources in the Air Force said.
The aircraft had eight crew and five passengers onboard. All available resources have been employed to locate the aircraft, the sources said, adding that the IAF had deployed Su-30 fighters and C-130 transporters in the search mission.
Defence Minister Rajnath spoke to Vice Chief of the Air Staff Air Marshal RS Bhadauria on the missing aircraft. “He has apprised me of the steps taken by the IAF to find the missing aircraft. I pray for the safety of all passengers on board,” Mr. Singh said in a tweet.
An-32, the medium transporter, is the workhorse of the IAF, which operates around 105 of them. They are in the process of being upgraded to extend their service life.
In 2009, India finalised a major upgrade and life extension plan for the entire fleet under a $400 mn deal with Ukraine that would extend their life to 40 years. So far, 46 aircraft have been upgraded. Of this, 40 were done in Ukraine and the rest are being upgraded in India.