CHENNAI: The Russian Navy Ship Igor Belousov’s services were taken to help find the Indian Air Force transport aircraft AN-32 that went missing on July 22. The Russian ship was on its way for a ‘goodwill’ visit to Visakhapatnam.
The ship which was inducted in the Russian Navy’s Pacific Ocean fleet search-and-rescue force in November 2015 was capable of rescue work in deep ocean. The ship has underwater communication systems, navigation complex, search equipment, as well as hydrological measuring equipment.
The navigation suite comprises automatic navigation system, sonar, hydroacoustic navigation system, navigational radar, and hydrometeorological support systems.
Sources told Express that the ship did search but it yielded nothing. It was learnt that the vessel has Bester-1 deep submergence rescue vehicle, designed by the Lazurit Central Design Bureau, for improved rescue capability. However, it can go down up to a depth of 700 metres. The depth where the aircraft is believed to have gone missing is 3,500 metres.
The equipment of Russian naval ship was tested, said sources. Currently, the search of the aircraft is being done on a 1,800km stretch. But without any idea of where the aircraft had fallen, a search and rescue operation was difficult.
It seems now the onus again rests on the Geological Survey of India ship Samudra Ratnakar which is likely to join the search possibly in the next few days. Similarly, the National Institute of Ocean Technology vessel Sagarnidhi is likely to join the search by the end of this week.