The Indian Navy has de-inducted TU142M Long Range Maritime Patrol aircraft after 29 years of dedicated service to the nation and 30,000 hours of accident-free flying.
The aircraft was formally de-inducted at a ceremony held at INS Rajali naval air station in Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu. Now its role will be taken on by the newly inducted Boeing P-8I aircraft.
- TU-142M was inducted into the Indian Navy at Dabolim Goa from the erstwhile USSR in 1988. Later it shifted base and made INS Rajali its permanent home in 1992.
- It was the fastest turboprop aircraft in the world. It had four powerful engines, contra-rotating, slender fuselage and swept wings.
- Since its induction, it was the mainstay of maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare operations of the Indian Navy.
- It had participated in all major naval exercises and operations such as operation ‘Cactus’ in Maldives, , Operation Vijay (1998), Operation Parakram (2002) and anti-piracy operations from 2011 to till date.
- It also had played important role in transforming aspects of maritime reconnaissance and airborne anti-submarine warfare of Navy with its enhanced endurance, speed, long range weapons and sensors.
- TU-142M aircraft squadron was awarded Unit Citation by the Chief of Naval Staff in 2002 and was adjudged the Best Frontline Squadron on numerous occasions over the years.