Gwalior, June 24 (IANS) Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief B.S. Dhanoa on Monday said that the An-32 transport aircraft will continue to fly in the mountains as there was no other option. The Air Force Chief’s statement came more than a fortnight after An-32 aircraft, with 13 IAF personnel on board, crashed in Arunachal Pradesh.
Addressing a press conference here during a commemoration to mark 20 years of the Kargil war, Dhanoa said: “The An-32 will continue to fly as we have no choice.”
“The Air Force is in the process of getting a more modern aircraft. When we get it, we will put it to critical roles and take the An-32 out and assign it for routine transport and training roles,” he said.
“Like the Avro 748 transport aircraft, which is around 55 years old now. An old age aircraft, it is not flying to extreme environments. Similarly, when the new aircraft comes, it will take An-32’s role and An-32 will be taken off. But right now we do not have a choice, An-32 will continue to fly in the mountains,” the Air Force Chief said.
The June 3 crash in Arunachal Pradesh was the third An-32 crash in recent years. In 2016, an aircraft with 29 people onboard disappeared over the Bay of Bengal and was never found.
Before that in June 2009, another aircraft went missing and was later found to have crashed in the jungles of Arunachal Pradesh.