The Tu-142M (Maritime) is a derivative of the famous dreaded Soviet Tu-95 nuclear strategic bomber (NATO code-name Bear)
named ‘Albatross’ painted grey with IN-313 written across it, approached the India Gate and its four engines roared over head flying all the way from Arakkonam. The plane has an all up maximum weight of 160 tonnes when it is loaded with 87 tonnes of fuel for long range sorties. If a Tu-142 has to suddenly land it has to ditch fuel and reduce weight to around 120 tonnes for safety or the fuselage may crack in a hard landing.
The Tu-142M (Maritime) is a derivative of the famous dreaded Soviet Tu-95 nuclear strategic bomber ( NATO code-name Bear) and each Tu142 has a flight crew of 10 TO 12 personnel, which includes the Commander, Co-Pilot, Flight Engineer, Signaller and the aft Gunner and five personnel that execute navigation and observer duties and control the weapons and sensors. A senior Observer (designated Navigator in the Air Force) coordinates the entire airborne ASW/Ship Search phase of the mission and can also give coordinates to ships for long range missile firings, keeping out of the target ship’s AA missile and gun range. The plane has an operational burst speed of 925 kmph, a lower cruising speed and a ceiling of 40,000 ft and a range of 12,550 km when two crew when full fuel is embarked for 16 hours endurance and has resting and toilet facilities and a mini galley.
The Tu-142Ms were fitted with the Korshun-K automatic search and sighting system and MMS106 Ladoga magnetometer to detect low-noise under water nuclear submarines, with their NPK-142M navigation system and a range of RGB sonobuoys. The armament can include a maximum of 12 torpedoes, FAB-250kg free fall bombs and depth charges up to a maximum pay load of 20 tonnes.
The decommissioning ceremony was attended by Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral HCS Bisht, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, and serving and many retired officers and men, who had served on the Tu-142s and senior officials from the Tamil Nadu civil administration. Retired Cdr V C Pandey at Riga was present.
Pandey was introduced to serving officers as the officer who had flown Seahawk fighters and Alizes ASW planes from INS Vikrant’s deck (1970-75), and was in the commissioning crew of IL-38s in 1983. Later he commanded the IL38 squadron and he recalled how he flew the first Tu-142s as the lead plane from USSR and was the first Indian service plane to make a long
(RIGHT) A farewell gift to the last CO as CNS Admiral Sunil Lanba applauds
(BELOW) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu with Union Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju along with Eastern Naval Command Flag Officer Commandingin-Chief HCS Bisht receive the Tu-142M at INS Dega, Vishakhapatnam