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Last Updated : Jun 04, 2019 12:10 PM IST | Source:

Not the first time an IAF AN-32 has gone missing

Here's a look at IAF AN-32 and previous instances of such disappearances

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File image: Indian Air Force
File image: Indian Air Force

Search operations to locate the missing AN-32 aircraft are underway as the Indian Air Force (IAF) is coordinating with the Indian Army, various government and civil agencies, Media Coordination Centre of the IAF said on June 3.

As many as 13 people -- eight members of the crew and five passengers -- are believed to be on board.

The IAF aircraft went missing hours after it had taken off from Jorhat, Assam for Mechuka Advance Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh.


IAF confirmed in their tweet that the aircraft had been airborne at 12.25 pm on June 3. The aircraft was last in contact with the ground agencies at 1.00 pm. Since the aircraft did not reach the designated destination, an overdue action was initiated by IAF.

However, this is not the first time an IAF AN-32 aircraft has gone missing. Here’s a look at the Antonov AN-32 aircraft and previous instances of such disappearances:

What is the AN-32?

The Antonov AN-32 is a twin-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. The IAF was the launch customer for this aircraft manufactured Antonov. Antonov was a Soviet, and later a Ukrainian, aircraft manufacturing company.

The AN-32 is designed to withstand adverse weather conditions. The high placement of the engine nacelles above its wing allowed the aircraft to have a larger diameter propellers.

The estimated price for a modernised AN-32 version is priced at $15 million. The production of this aircraft model dwindled after the fall of the Soviet Union.

The IAF fleet comprises of over 100 AN-32s which are currently going under modernisation, according to reports.

File image: Indian Air Force

Features of the AN-32

The aircraft is said to be suitable for cargo transport operations on short and medium range air routes. It is also said to be suitable for air-dropping cargo, aerial firefighting, medical evacuation and skydiving.

According to the IAF, AN-32s can carry a crew of five and has the capacity to carry 39 paratroopers or a max load of 6.7 tonnes. It has a max cruise speed of 530 kmph.

Previous instances of IAF’s AN-32s disappearing

IAF has recorded at least four crashes or disappearances of AN-32s.

In 1986, an IAF AN-32 disappeared over the Arabian Sea on a delivery flight from the Soviet Union via Muscat, Oman. No trace was found of the aircraft or the people on board.

Four years later, another AN-32 aircraft crashed in the Ponmudi mountain range on its way to Thiruvananthapuram from Tambaram Air Force Station near Chennai.

In 2009, an AN-32 aircraft crashed shortly after taking off from the Mechuka ALG. All 13 people on board were killed.

Following this crash, India inked a $400-million deal with Ukraine for the upgradation of the AN-32 fleet.

In 2016, an AN-32 flying from Tambaram Air Force Station to Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands went missing above the Bay of Bengal. It had 29 people on board.

The subsequent search and rescue operation was India's largest for a missing aircraft on the sea. The operation was called off later with all 29 being presumed dead.

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First Published on Jun 4, 2019 12:10 pm
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