India is looking forward to replacing its time-worn defence equipment. In that direction, Indian Air Force (IAF) is looking to replace its AN-32 fleet. India procured them from the Soviet Union between 1984-1991. Since then, they have undergone upgradation from Ukraine. India currently has 90 AN-32 medium-lift aircraft.
AN-32 to be replaced
According to the reports, IAF will get a new Medium Transport Aircraft (MTA). The aircraft will be completely manufactured in India with foreign collaboration. The load carrying capacity of new aircrafts will be around 18 to 30 tonnes.
Previously, 9 tonne capacity medium tactical transport aircraft had been approved by the IAF which will be manufactured in the Tata-Airbus facility. With Rs. 21,935 crores, 56 C-295 tactical airlifters will be procured by IAF.
The government of India has set the time limit for vendors to submit their response by March 31. In the request for information (RFI) by the IAF, a separate manufacturing line is to be set up for the project. The design, manufacturing and integration will be either by their own subsidiaries or by joint ventures. The whole project will be around making India regional and global hub of manufacturing.
Need for replacement
This replacement is important because the aircraft is outdated due to which it has become prone to accidents. So far, 11 accident cases of AN-32 have been reported all around the world out of which 5 happened in India. In 1986 and 2016, two AN-32 aircrafts went missing and were never discovered. In the last accident, in 2019, the aircraft was discovered 8 days after it took off from Jorhat base in Assam with 13 casualties.
AN-32 replacement is also crucial amidst the Chinese territorial threat. The AN-32 are mostly deployed in the Arunacahl Pradesh and Laddakh.
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