An Indian Air Force plane, with at least 29 people on board, went missing on the morning of 22 July. The aircraft, an old AN-32 plane that was flying from Port Blair to Chennai, went missing around 8:30am.
According to reports, the plane only had enough fuel to fly for four hours. A massive search operation is currently underway, helmed by the Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard.
India has a total of 105 AN-32s in its fleet. Here are a few facts about this twin-engine military transport aircraft:
- The tactical, light transport aircraft was designed by the Antonov Design Bureau of Ukraine. The production of the aircraft began in 1976.
- In July 1984, the IAF inducted the aircraft into its fleet, under the guidance of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
- In 2009, the Antonov inked a deal to upgrade India's AN-32 fleet - in a bid to increase the lifespan by 15-40 years.
- The craft can transport either 7.5 tonnes of cargo or 50 passengers.
- The Nato reporting name of the AN-32 (Antonov) is Cline.
- It can withstand extreme weather conditions.
- The AN-32 has ten variants - An-32A, An-32B, An-32B-100, An-32B-110, An-32B-120, An-32B-300, An-32LL, An-32MP, An-32P Firekiller and An-32B-200.