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Faced with issues, IAF shifts to civilian airlines from AN-32 for Andaman ops

ANI | Updated: Jun 15, 2019 18:32 IST

New Delhi (India), Jun 15 (ANI) Faced with crashes and other issues, the Indian Air Force had to shift to civilian aircraft for ferrying military personnel to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands territory due to the performance of the AN-32 planes.
India has more than 90 of these planes which were imported during the Soviet era and several of them have been upgraded recently in a contract with Ukraine.
"Over the sea, the AN-32 flies at altitudes (18 - 20 thousand feet) that encounters heavy icing (Zero to minus Degrees Celsius outside air temperature). That is why we have shifted most of the passenger load from An 32 to Civil Airlines in the Andaman and Nicobar Sector," top IAF sources told ANI.
Sources said the Defence Ministry is also of the view that the AN-32 should be avoided being used in risk-prone areas in view of the crashes and other issues.
The recent crash took place in Arunachal Pradesh where 13 personnel lost their lives in the accident over the mountainous terrain of the Northeastern state after taking off from Jorhat.
Three years ago, an IAF AN-32 took off from Chennai to Port Blair in Andamans but crashed over the Bay of Bengal killing all the 29 personnel on board. The plane could never be found despite an extensive search over the Bay of Bengal.
The IAF also faces problems in operating the aircraft in the Northeast and Northern areas as the plane can't fly above the terrain in mountains with one engine and has to manoeuvre through the valleys the way aircraft like Dakotas and Caribou aircraft in older days, the sources said.
IAF officials said the need for replacing the older fleet is being felt with the newer aircraft but the acquisition and production will take time.
Sources said the process to replace the emergency location beacon is in the process of being replaced due to the delays in the signing of the contract.
The emergency location transmitters did not work both this time and the last time in 2009. (ANI)