Sustained Search Operations for Missing AN 32 Successful
The search for the missing Indian Air Force An-32 continued unabated and the outcome has been finallly succesful.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>The wreckage of the missing <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/An32?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#An32</a> was spotted today 16 Kms North of Lipo, North East of Tato at an approximate elevation of 12000 ft by the <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/IAF?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#IAF</a> Mi-17 Helicopter undertaking search in the expanded search zone..</p>— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) <a href=”https://twitter.com/IAF_MCC/status/1138383237481283584?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>June 11, 2019</a></blockquote>
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On 3rd June, the aircraft had got airborne from IAF’s Jorhat Airbase in Assam for Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in the West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh. 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.
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. Combined with the inhospitable terrain, the weather has posed serious challenges to aerial search operations.
Search efforts by ground teams of Indian Army, ITBP, State Police and members of local population has continued in full force today. However, aerial search could not be undertaken due to poor weather conditions prevailing throughout the day. 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.
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa visited Air Force Station Jorhat today 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.
AN-32 transport aircraft was inducted into the IAF between 1984-1991. In the last three decades its operations were exploited the capabilities of this aircraft as the workhorse of the IAF. Because of its excellent operational performance, AN-32 has been landing at Daulat Beg Oldie, which is the highest landing ground in the world.
The Indian Air Force has gone to the extent of even getting certified to fly on blended aviation fuel containing up to 10% of indigenous bio-jet fuel. The IAF has undertaken a series of evaluation tests and trials with this green aviation fuel for the last one year. The scope of these checks was in consonance with the international aviation standards. However the repeated number of accidents is a cause of concern given that a similar major accident had occurred in 2016 but apparently remedial measures to upgrade safety issues have not been taken by the IAF in conjunction with the manufacturers.