India, Ukraine sign deal for IAF transport aircraft upgrade

June 17th, 2009 - 10:36 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 17 (IANS) India has singed a $397 million deal with Ukraine to modernise its aging transport aircraft fleet, defence sources said here Wednesday.
The move comes a week after the crash of an AN-32 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in Arunachal Pradesh, killing 13 people.

According to the defence ministry sources, 104 Antonov (AN) 32 aircrafts that were purchased three decades ago would be turned into modern flying machines, fitted with glass cockpits and upgraded engines.

“The contract for upgradation has been signed with Spets Techno Exports, a state-owned foreign trade enterprise of Ukraine. The Antonov aircraft company is based in Ukraine,” said a source.

The transport carrier has been the backbone of the IAF in providing air logistic support to troops in far-flung areas of the country. The AN-32, a medium lift transport aircraft, would be upgraded in the next five years. With the upgradation, the IAF hopes to extend the life span of the aging fleet by another 10 years.

Some of the aircraft would initially be taken to Ukraine but the rest of the work would be carried out at base repair depot at Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, according to the sources.

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