IAF's AN-32 modernisation to start in March

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New Delhi, Jun 17 (ANI): Ukraine will start upgrading the Indian Air Force's medium lift AN-32 cargo aircraft in March.

Antonov Aircraft Company, headquartered at Kiev, will give the eponymous 20-tonne-capacity aircraft a full upgrade of on-board communications and navigation systems.

The first Indian Antonov An-32 airplane is expected to arrive in Kyiv in early March to undergo modernization at the Antonov Design Bureau, according to Interfax-Ukraine.

India had signed a deal with Ukraine firm Spetstekhnoexport, a subsidiary of Ukrspetsexport state company to modernise its 105 AN-32 cargo aircraft.

The mass modernization program will be launched at Kyiv-based Civil Aviation Plant No. 410.

The upgradation of An-32 will prolong the airplanes' life to 40 years and increase their commercial payload from 6.7 tonnes to 7.5 tonnes. Cockpit noise will also be reduced.

The Antonov-32s are the lifeline of Indian soldiers fighting uninhabitable weather conditions and the harsh terrain to protect Siachen Glacier, the world's highest battlefield.

The aircraft is mainly used for carrying cargo, supplies and troops to Siachen, where guns fell silent following a November 2003 ceasefire accord with Pakistan. (ANI)

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