The Indian Navy is preparing for de-induction of TU142M Long Range Maritime Patrol aircraft after its 29 years of dedicated service to the nation. 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.
About TU142M Maritime Patrol aircraft
- The TU142M Long Range Maritime Patrol aircraft was inducted into Indian Navy at Dabolim Goa from 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 aircraft saw action during operation ‘Cactus’ in Maldives and participated in operational missions off Sri Lanka to provide airborne surveillance.
- TU142M aircraft with its 04 powerful engines, contra rotating, slender fuselage and swept wings is the fastest turboprop aircraft in the world and reportedly has been difficult to intercept by fighters.
- 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.
- Despite being in its twilight year, the aircraft performed exceptionally well during the recently conducted Naval Exercise TROPEX in Mar 2017.
- INAS 312 was commissioned on 18 Nov 1976 at INS Hansa, Goa with five Lockheed L1049G Super Constellation aircraft acquired from No. 6 Squadron of the IAF. After de-induction of Super Constellation from the squadron in 1983, TU-142M LRMR ASW aircraft was inducted into INAS 312 on 16 Apr 88.
- The squadron later shifted its base to the East Coast of India in Apr 92 and has since then been based at INS Rajali, Arakkonam (Tamil Nadu).
- INAS 312 has the unique distinction of operating the heaviest, fastest and highest flying turbo prop in the world namely the TU-142M which has been the mainstay of LRMR and ASW operations of the Indian Navy for close to three decades.
- Over the years, the TU-142M has rendered yeomen service to the nation and has taken part in all major exercises and operations including Operation Cactus in Maldives, Op Vijay in 1998, Op Parakram in 2002 and Anti-Piracy Operations from 2011 till date.
- For its outstanding professionalism and momentous contribution to the Navy, the Squadron was awarded Unit Citation by the Chief of Naval Staff in the year 2002 and adjudged the Best Frontline Squadron on numerous occasions over the years. After 29 years of dedicated service, the TU-142M LRMR ASW aircraft was drawn down on 29 Mar 17.
- The role of TU142M will now be taken on by the newly inducted P-8l aircraft.
- The P-8I aircraft has proven all its systems and has been fully integrated into the operational grid of the Indian Navy.