ISRO to use radar imaging satellite to locate missing IAF plane


The Indian space agency will be using its Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT) that can see through the clouds to locate the missing Indian Air Force (IAF) plane that went missing on Friday morning with 29 people on board, said its chief on Saturday.

“We will be using RISAT to locate the missing aircraft. The satellite can take pictures both during the day and night. It can see through the clouds,” Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman A S Kiran Kumar told IANS.

He said ISRO’s satellites could be tilted to some extent to look at a different place in times of need.

The RISAT’s active microwave remote sensing provides cloud penetration and day-night imaging capability.

These unique characteristics of C-band (5.35GHz) Synthetic Aperture Radar enable applications in agriculture, particularly paddy monitoring in kharif season and management of natural disasters like flood and cyclone, ISRO had said earlier about RISAT.

According to Kiran Kumar, ISRO is in the process of looking into the data of satellites that can throw some light on the missing plane.

He said the search and rescue beacon signal from the IAF plane was not picked by the ISRO satellites as the signals were not there.

“Aircrafts with search and rescue beacons should also have a transmitter to transmit the signals for the satellites to pick up,” he said.

The IAF AN-32 aircraft went missing on Friday over the Bay of Bengal off the Chennai coast.

The search and rescue operation by Indian Navy and Coast Guard, which went on through the night, continued on Saturdaay and more assets were deployed.

Two P8I surveillance aircrafts and two Dornier are continuing the search while one Dornier is on standby at Port Blair.

Another AN 32 and two C-130 Hercules aircrafts and Mi-17 V5 with floats are also on standby.

At present, 13 ships of the Indian Navy and four ships of Coast Guard are involved in the search operation.

A submarine was also sent for locating transmissions from the emergency locator beacon on board the missing aircraft. Emergency locator beacons usually get activated in case a plane crashes.

Those on board the AN-32 included six crew members, 15 personnel from the IAF, army, navy and Coast Guard, and eight civilians who were family members of the personnel.