Navy bids adieu to TU 142M patrol aircraft
The Indian Navy's workhorse long-range maritime patrol aircraft TU 142M, which played a key role in operations including the IPKF mission in Sri Lanka, was on Wednesday de-inducted after 29 years of accident-free service. The Russian-made aircraft was bid adieu by the navy including its Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba at a ceremony at INS Rajali here, about 90 km from Chennai.
The de-induction marked the end of Tupolev 142M's illustrious career with the Navy.
Tupolev-142M fleet is being replaced by 12 P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft of Boeing which are equipped with harpoon anti-ship missiles, lightweight torpedoes, rockets and new generation sensors and radars.
TU 142M was inducted in the Navy at Dabolim in Goa in 1998 from Russia. It shifted base to INS Rajali in 1992 and took part in several naval exercises and operations.
Praising the services of the TU 142M, Admiral Lanba said the aircraft played a key role in several operations involving the Indian Navy including the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) operations in Sri Lanka in the late 1980s. "TU 142M stands as a proud symbol of pride and might," he said, adding the de-induction ceremony was an emotional moment for the personnel involved with it.
He said P-8i with its modern technology including sensors and radars will be a "force multiplier."