Itanagar/New Delhi: A long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft of the Indian Navy was today deployed as part of a massive search operation to trace an AN-32 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force, a day after it went missing around thickly forested Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh, officials said.

Navy spokesperson Capt DK Sharma said the P8i aircraft took off from INS Rajali in Tamil Nadu’s Arakonam around 1 pm.

A fleet of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopter are already deployed to locate the missing aircraft in the mountainous terrain, officials said. The IAF has deployed C-130J and AN-32 aircraft, besides two Mi-17 helicopters, while the Indian Army has pressed into service advance light helicopters to locate the missing aircraft.

Ground troops have also been deployed to carry out a search operation. The P8i aircraft will carry out search operation with electro-optical and infrared sensors.

The P8i, manufactured by Boeing, is a long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft, and at present, Navy has eight of them. “Reports were received on possible location of a crash site. Helicopters were routed, but no wreckage has been sighted,” the IAF said yesterday. (PTI)

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