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All IAF transport aircraft & helicopters now equipped with ULB

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NEW DELHI (PTI): All transport aircraft and helicopters of IAF undertaking maritime operations have now been equipped with Underwater Locating Beacon (ULB) following the accident involving an AN32 plane which continues to be missing nearly six months after it crashed in waters off Chennai.

A massive search operation 'Op Talash' was launched for search of the missing aircraft that crashed on July 22 this year.

In a written reply in Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said, "All transport aircraft and helicopters of IAF undertaking maritime operations have now been equipped with Underwater Locating Beacon (ULB)".

The missing aircraft did not have an ULB fitted on it which made the search operation very difficult.

A total of 18 Indian naval ships, 1 submarine and 8 Indian Coast Guard ships were deployed for search of the missing IAF aircraft which totalled to 301 ship days of search.

In addition 14 Indian navy aircraft, 6 Indian Coast Guard aircraft and 10 IAF aircraft were deployed for the search wherein 290 sorties were flown, totalling approximately 1280 flying hours.

Geological Survey of India vessel Samudra Ratnakar was also deployed to undertake sub-bottom profiling in the area and National Institute of Oceanography and Technology vessel Sagar Nidhi was deployed to carry out sea bed search using Remotely Operated Vehicle to a depth of 3000 metres.

National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Hyderabad was requested for high-resolution satellite image of area around datum.

Indigenous satellite such as CARTOSAT 2A and 2B which have a resolution of 0.8m were also used for satellite imagery.

However, no concrete evidence with respect to missing IAF AN-32 aircraft has emerged.

Assistance of the United States and the Russian Federation Navy was taken for the search of the missing IAF AN-32 transport aircraft. However, no results correlating to the missing IAF aircraft were reported.

None of the upgraded AN32 aircraft, the main workhorse of the military, had an underwater locator, unlike the modern transport planes like C130J or C17.

Tags:

India  IAF  Aircraft  Helicopter  ULB  Defence  
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