Ukraine will begin the modernisation programme of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) An-32 aircraft in March 2010, under an aircraft repair and modernisation contract signed in July 2009.

The IAF will send the first Antonov An-32 aircraft to Kyiv, Ukraine, in early March, where it will be upgraded at the Antonov Design Bureau, according to

Following this, a mass modernisation programme will begin at Kyiv-based Civil Aviation Plant No. 410.

The upgrade work will prolong the aircraft’s service life to 40 years and to increase its commercial payload from 6.7t to 7.5t, and will include work to reduce cockpit noise.

The IAF signed the $400m contract to repair and modernise 105 An-32 aircraft with Spetstekhnoexport, a subsidiary of state owned company Ukrspetsexport.

The AN-32 light military transport multipurpose aircraft is capable of operating in hot climates of up to 55°C, as well as from the mountain airfields up to 4,500m height.

It is used to transport cargoes over the short and medium range air routes, to carry people, parachute delivery of people and cargo platforms on pallets, and also as an ambulance variant.