India has sought the assistance of U.S. satellites to augment its search for the missing Indian Air Force AN-32 transport aircraft, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said, ruling out the possibility of sabotage.

The aircraft, with 29 personnel, went missing over the Bay of Bengal last Friday when flying from Chennai to Port Blair.

No signals yet

Briefing the Rajya Sabha on the search efforts, Mr. Parrikar said not a single signal has been picked up so far and the Indian authorities were contacting American defence forces to “ascertain whether their satellites had picked up any signal.”

“Besides our own satellite imagery, we have asked the U.S. for their imagery for the detection of emergency frequency to space based assets. I only hope that our efforts succeed,” he said in response to queries.

Defends aircraft’s fitness

Stating that the aircraft has undergone the first overhaul and the age was “well within lifetime,” Mr. Parrikar said at the time of its disappearance, the aircraft was on “secondary/passive radar” and there was no SOS or transmission of any frequency.

“If aircraft is not fit for flying, we don’t fly it,” the Minister said, adding that this aircraft had done 279 hours of flying after its first overhaul.

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