Indian warplane go missing during upgrade in Ukraine
Ukraine is reportedly failing India with upgrades to its An-32 transport aircraft. At least five planes have allegedly gone missing in Ukraine. Meanwhile, work on Indian soil has been halted after Ukrainian engineers were pulled out.
The Indian Air Force sent 40 An-32s to Ukraine to be upgraded at the Kiev-based state-owned Antonov plant under a 2009 service contract. But the last five of them have become “untraceable,” an Indian Air Force official told Defense News.
Another 64 An-32 had to be upgraded locally, but Ukrainian engines tasked with the job departed and the supply of spare parts stopped, he added.
“These five aircraft are almost lost as it is difficult to trace them and diplomatic efforts to find their whereabouts have failed,” the anonymous official is quoted as saying.
Earlier Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar said the last batch of An-32s sent to Ukraine for upgrade had been “stuck” there due to the ongoing crisis, Economic Times reported.
The contract to upgrade India’s fleet of An-32 is worth $400 million and was expected to run through 2017. The goal is to increase the aircraft life expectancy from 25 to 40 years and provide it with improved avionics, a modernized cockpit and an increase in capacity from 6.7 to 7.5 tons.