Indian Air Force medium-haul transport planes will be upgraded by a Ukrainian company which will result in the aircraft sporting modern communications and navigation equipment. According to a Interfax report, Ukrainian military export monopolist Ukrspetsexport has signed a $400 million contract for the upgrade of 100 IAF Antonov-32 transport aircraft.
The upgrades, which will be carried out by technicians from the Kiev- headquartered Antonov Aircraft company, will provide the IAF's An-32 fleet "a full modernisation of on-board communications and navigation equipment."
The announcement was made just five days after an An-32 crashed in India's north-east region killing all personnel onboard. Possible causes of the accident are still being investigated.
The IAF operates more than a quarter of the nearly 360 An-32 planes manufactured by Antonov during the latter years of the Soviet Union. Its fleet strength is surpassed only by the Ukrainian air force, which operates some 150 such aircraft.
The An-32 was an updated version of the venerable Soviet An-26, a twin-engine craft designed to transport cargo or people in rugged regions. The twin turboprop earned a reputation in the erstwhile Soviet Union as a generally reliable plane which offered passengers minimal comfort, and air crews only basic electronics.