The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Friday deployed NTRO spy satellites to help in the search of the missing AN-32 aircraft.
According to ANI, the IAF is also using Aviation Research Centre’s Global 5000 surveillance aircraft along with other assets to locate the aircraft, which is missing since Monday.
The spy satellites and the aircraft have specialist sensors, which can help in getting better imagery on ground.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was apprised of the search and rescue operations. Singh has reportedly instructed to use all possible resources to locate the plane and its occupants.
The search for the missing transport aircraft entered the fourth day on Friday afternoon.
The IAF pressed into service Cheetah helicopters on Thursday, which are easily manoeuvrable and can easily access areas unreachable by larger aircraft or ground parties.
“#IAF Missing AN-32 search continues. The area of search has been expanded and more assets including smaller and more manoeuvrable helicopters like cheetah have been included in the rescue mission so as to approach areas inaccessible by bigger helicopters or individuals on foot,” the IAF said in a statement.
The force said that local weather in the valleys of Arunachal Pradesh affected operations by IAF and Indian Army helicopters.
“Search by IAF & Indian Army helicopters was adversely affected by localised weather in the valleys. All leads from airborne sensors including by Indian Navy being closely assessed and followed-up with search by aircraft and ground teams. The search will continue through the night,” the statement read.
The Indian Army deployed its UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) to search for the missing transport aircraft.
IAF’s Mi-17 choppers and other aircraft were also being used for the operation, after they were pulled out on Wednesday night due to low visibility. Two Sukhois and C-130Js, however, carried out night missions to locate the missing aircraft.
“State police force along with Army & Air force has been mobilized to locate the missing @IAF_MCC AN-32 Aircraft that was bound for Mechuka on Monday. The search operation covering four district spread around 2500 sqkm is being intensified. Praying for success of search operation,” Arunachal Chief Minister Pema Khandu said on Thursday.
“Have asked DCs of four districts- Siang, West Siang, Lower Siang & Shi-Yomi to intensify search operation and also appealed the villagers of adjoining areas falling in the probable route of the aircraft to provide any sort of information on missing aircraft AN-32,” he added.
The search area includes the thickly forested routes between Assam’s Jorhat and Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh, where the aircraft disappeared.
On Wednesday, two SU-30s along with two C-130J, two Mi17 helicopters and two Advanced Light Helicopters (ALHs) including one from the Army were deployed to locate the aircraft.
A P-8I Long Range Maritime Reconnaisance aircraft of the Indian Navy was available to join the search and rescue operation.
The AN-32 aircraft went missing in Arunachal Pradesh on Monday after taking off from Assam.
The transport aircraft was flying from Jorhat to the Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground. Mechuka is a small town in Arunachal’s West Siang district bordering China.
Of the 13 personnel, seven are officers and the rest air warriors.