The aircraft AN 32 of the Indian Air Force(IAF), which went missing on the July 22, over the Bay of Bengal lacked Underwater Locator Beacon(ULB). The device transmits signals at ultra low level frequencies which can travel through water. No AN 32 aircrafts have ULB installed.
The missing aircraft had two Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELT) one in the cockpit and the other in the tail fin. The battery life of the two ELT is not more than 72 hours and fails to function under water.
The IAF is now trying to install Underwater Locator Beacons in all the AN 32, as per the TOI.
According to the Indian Express, in the absence of the ULB, the search team has been looking for clues of any wreckage, oil slick of aviation turbine fuel or any other visual clue in the area.
The work horse of Indian Air force, AN 32, is well known for its capability to handle bad weather condition and serves in transporting cargo, passengers, firefighting and para-trooping.
Read more at indianexpress.com, timesofindia.com
An Antonov An-32 or “Sutlej” dubbed by the Indian Air force, a twin engine medium tactical aircraft carrying 29 people on board went missing in the Bay of Bengal on Friday while making its way back to Port Blair from Chennai. The aircraft which was on its routine courier-run took off from Chennai at 8:30am in the morning and lost contact with the land 16 minutes after take-off at 23,000ft altitude.
Rescue operations are currently underway where four navy ships, four coast guard ships and two Dornier aircrafts have been deployed for search operations 200 nautical miles east of Chennai.
It has been confirmed by officials that 1 Coast Guard, 11 navy personnel, 3 IAF pilots, however interestingly D K Sharma were aboard the aircraft, Navy PRO, did not confirm the number of personnel missing.
The last update on this mishap came from Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who told the press that all efforts were being made to trace the missing aircraft.
It is reported that the aircraft lost contact with the Secondary Service Radar after a rapid decline in altitude which probably was due to the bad weather conditions.
The history of Antonov aircraft’s is not very good as data shows that since March ’86 it has been involved in 10 crashes killing around 81 people and it is also heart breaking to note that in the last five years nearly 30 military aircraft’s have crashed 3 of which are Antonovs.
IAF An-32 aircraft missing LIVE: IAF deploys 17 ships for search and rescue operations