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IAF's AN-32 planes stranded in Ukraine

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The AN-32 transport aircraft. An IAF photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): The last lot of five AN-32 aircrafts, which were sent for upgrade to Ukraine, continues to remain stranded due to the geo-political situation there, the Indian Air Force has said.

IAF's statement on Monday came amid reports in the Russian media that the planes have gone missing during the upgrade.

The Air Force said the reports "are baseless and have been confirmed by Indian Air Force (IAF)".

The last five AN-32s are available in a factory in Ukraine, the statement said.

There have been delays in upgrade due to non-availability of components as a result of the ongoing geo-political stand-off between Ukraine and Russia, it said.

IAF uses the Soviet-origin AN-32 planes as transport aircraft.

As per a 2009 contract with Ukraine's state-owned Ukrspetsexport Corp, India was to send 40 aircraft for upgrade over four years, starting 2011.

Another 65 of the aircraft were to be upgraded with Ukrainian help at an Indian facility in Kanpur.

The upgrade would extend the service life of the transporters from 25 years to 40 years.

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