Search for IAF’s missing AN-32 aircraft intensifies, IAF chief BS Dhanoa visits Jorhat


IAF’s AN-32 Aircraft: The search for missing Indian Air Force aircraft AN-32 has entered the sixth day on Sunday with no clue about the whereabouts of the missing aircraft and its crew.

On June 3, IAF’s AN-32 aircraft had gone missing while flying from Jorhat airbase in Assam to Mechuka advanced landing ground in the West Siang district in Arunachal Pradesh on China border.

Indian Air Force launched a massive search operation to trace the whereabouts of the aircraft soon after it was established that it did not reach its destination within the stipulated time.

Indian Navy also pressed its long range reconnaissance aircraft P8i which is equipped with advanced radars. However, the success has so far eluded the search and rescue teams.

“Resources from various agencies, including ISRO were brought into the operation to enhance its effectiveness. The area of search is mountainous and heavily forested with thick undergrowth. The weather in the area has been inclement with low clouds and rain during most hours,” said the government in a statement.

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AN-32 is considered workhorse of Indian Air Force but it has also suffered crashes and accidents during its service to the country. The force has lost 17 aircraft since its induction in 1980s. 

The area where the fateful aircraft has been lost is covered with dense forest on India-China border.

Indian Navy P8i Patrol Aircraft

Indian Navy P8i Patrol Aircraft.

“Combined with the inhospitable terrain, the weather has posed serious challenges to aerial search operations,” the government said in a statement while giving the updates about the search operation.

Ground teams of Indian Army, ITBP, State Police have been deployed for the search. However, aerial search could not be undertaken on Saturday due to bad weather.

Indian Air Force has increased the deployment of its helicopters and transport aircraft and has expanded the search area significantly since the beginning of the operations.

More and more area is being covered by airborne sensors and satellites and the imaging is being followed-up by close analysis of the data for its synergistic amalgamation in the search operations.

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Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa visited Air Force Station Jorhat on Saturday to assess the ongoing search operations. He was given a detailed briefing about the operations and was apprised with the inputs received so far.

He interacted with families of the officers and airmen who were onboard the aircraft.

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