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Upgraded AN-32 transport plane inducted into IAF


  Published: June 2011

New Delhi. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has taken delivery of four upgraded Soviet-era AN-32 military transport aircraft following an overhaul and re-equipment in Ukraine that will enhance the life of the planes to 40 years from the existing 25 years.


The aircraft, with a new nomenclature - AN-32 RE - were inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) at the Palam air force base here June 8 by the Air Officer-in-Charge (Maintenance), Air Marshal Joseph Neri, an IAF release said.

Noting that the IAF is "imbibing and exploiting technological advances and adapting to the revolution in military affairs," Neri said the re-equipped planes will fulfill the tactical transport requirements of the IAF up to and beyond 2025.

India had sent five AN-32s to Ukraine, of which the remaining one will be inducted after its re-equipping.

According to industry sources, the aircraft has also several US-made components now. Among them are Honeywell's avionics upgrades like Weather Radar, Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), Displays, Radio Altimeter, and Distance Measuring Equipment (DME)

The Total Technical Life Extension (TTLE) was carried out by Spets Techno Export, an Ukrainian firm, which also ferried the aircraft to New Delhi from Keiv, flying through Ankara, Cairo, Jeddah, Doha and the United Arab Emirates.

The AN-32, the backbone of the IAF transport fleet, has been operational since 1984 and the 104 planes in the IAF inventory have flown more than 800,000 hours on various missions.

The IAF had, in 2005, conceived the TTLE for the AN-32s to overcome maintenance challenges due to ageing and obsolescence, while still left with airframe hours and number of landings. The $400 million upgrade contract was concluded in 2009.

The project envisages overhaul and re-equipment of 40 aircraft at designer certified plants in Ukraine at the rate of 10 aircraft annually, and supply of material and transfer of technology for the upgrade of remaining 64 aircraft at IAF's No. 1 Base Repair Depot (BRD) at Kanpur.

The upgrade at Kiev is expected to be completed by March 2014 and the upgrade at 1 BRD by March 2017.

The special features of AN-32 RE include modification of cockpit layout, upgraded avionics, noise and vibration reduction and enhancing crew comfort, reliability and maintainability of the aircraft.

Sharing the experience of the aircrew flying the upgraded aircraft from Kiev to New Delhi, Group Captain R.C. Mohile, one of the captains of the AN-32 RE and the team leader, said the new equipment proved extremely useful and made the complex navigation process involved on the international route easy to negotiate.

IAF Director General (Aircraft) Air Marshal R.K. Vashisht, senior defence ministry officials, senior IAF officers, representatives of Spets Techno Export and their aircrew were present at the induction ceremony.


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