Chennai, March 26 (IANS) The Indian Navy is preparing for de-induction of TU142M long-range maritime patrol aircraft after its 29 years of service, it was officially announced here on Sunday.
The aircraft would be formally de-inducted by Indian Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba at a special ceremony scheduled to be held on March 29 at INS Rajali, India’s premiere Naval Air Station in Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu.
The role of TU142M will now be taken on by the newly inducted P-8l aircraft, which has proven all its systems and has been fully integrated into the operational grid of the Indian Navy, according to an Indian Navy statement.
Commander Yogender Mair, the last Commanding Officer of the squadron with the TU142M aircraft, will hand over the reins to Commander V. Ranganathan, who will be the first Squadron Commanding Officer with the P-8l.
“To commemorate the stellar service of the TU142M, a TU Static Display Aircraft would also be inaugurated by the Chief of Naval Staff at INS Rajali,” the Indian Navy said in its statement.
The TU142M long-range maritime patrol aircraft was inducted into the Indian Navy at Dabolim in Goa from the erstwhile USSR in 1988.
The aircraft subsequently shifted base permanently to INS Rajali in 1992 and became the most formidable LRMR ASW aircraft of the Indian Navy.
“The aircraft has done the Indian Navy proud by participating in all major naval exercises and operations with distinction,” the Navy said.
The aircraft saw action during operation ‘Cactus’ in the Maldives and participated in operational missions off Sri Lanka to provide airborne surveillance.
TU142M aircraft with its four powerful engines, contra rotating, slender fuselage and swept back wings is the fastest turboprop aircraft in the world and has been difficult to intercept by fighters, the Navy said.
“With its enhanced endurance, speed, long-range weapons and sensors, the aircraft transformed the aspects of maritime reconnaissance and airborne ASW for the Indian Navy and was one of the most formidable platforms around the world,” the statement added.
The aircraft has had a distinguished service with over 30,000 hours of accident-free flying.
During its service life, the aircraft has undergone several modifications and retro fitments to keep up with evolving technology and changing requirements of Indian Navy.
Despite being in its twilight year, the aircraft performed exceptionally well during the Naval Exercise TROPEX held in March 2017, the Navy said.
The ceremony also coincides with Silver Jubilee of INS Rajali, home to the TU-142M aircraft for nearly three decades.