In­dian Navy’s TU-142M gets de-in­ducted

SP's MAI - - AEROSPACE RE­PORT -

Af­ter hav­ing served the In­dian Navy with pride and élan for 29 years, dur­ing which it ac­com­plished 30,000 hours of ac­ci­dent-free fly­ing, the TU-142M air­craft were given a be­fit­ting farewell in a spe­cial cer­e­mony or­gan­ised on March 29, 2017, at INS Ra­jali, In­dia’s pre­miere Naval Air Sta­tion in Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu. The cer­e­mony was at­tended by Ad­mi­ral Su­nil Lanba, PVSM, AVSM, ADC Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Ad­mi­ral H.C.S. Bisht, Flag Of­fi­cer Com­mand­ing-in-Chief, East­ern Naval Com­mand, serv­ing and re­tired of­fi­cers and men, who have served in the INAS 312 and other se­nior of­fi­cials from the Navy as well as from civil ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Speak­ing on the oc­ca­sion, Ad­mi­ral Su­nil Lanba lauded the stel­lar role played by TU-142M air­craft in the de­fence of the coun­try as a mar­itime re­con­nais­sance and air­borne ASW air­craft. He rec­ol­lected the cru­cial role played by the Squadron in Op­er­a­tion Cac­tus in Mal­dives, where flee­ing mer­ce­nar­ies were de­tected and tracked till they were ap­pre­hended by In­dian war­ships. The Ad­mi­ral also men­tioned the maiden par­tic­i­pa­tion by TU’s as the first In­dian Naval Air­craft in the Repub­lic Day fly­past at New Delhi on Jan­uary 26, 1999. He also ac­knowl­edged the pro­fes­sion­al­ism of the pilots, the main­tain­ers and all those per­son­nel as­so­ci­ated with fly­ing and main­tain­ing the air­craft in peak ef­fi­ciency dur­ing their ser­vice. The rich legacy of the squadron would con­tinue as the ba­ton is be­ing passed on to the proud crew of the wor­thy suc­ces­sors, viz. the P-8I Squadron, said the Ad­mi­ral.

With the im­pos­ing looks and a lethal punch to match, the TU14M air­craft which have been noth­ing short of a ‘Fly­ing De­stroyer’, were given an im­pres­sive farewell as they flew for one last time along with three Chetak he­li­copters, two Dorniers, one each IL-38 and the Boe­ing P-8I. In ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the stel­lar ser­vice of the TU-142M air­craft, a TU Static Dis­play was also in­au­gu­rated by the Chief of Naval Staff at lNS Ra­jali.

INAS 312 was com­mis­sioned on Novem­ber 18, 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 Con­s­tel-

la­tion from the squadron in 1983, TU-142M LRMR ASW air­craft was in­ducted into INAS 312 on April 16, 1988, by the then De­fence Min­is­ter K.C. Pant at INS Hansa. The squadron later shifted its base to the East Coast of In­dia in April 1992 and has since then been based at INS Ra­jali, Arakkonam. In fact, the first TU-142M landed at Ra­jali on March 7, 1992, and from here started a glo­ri­ous chap­ter of Long Range Mar­itime Air Op­er­a­tions of the In­dian Navy. The TU-142M truly brought in the era of dom­i­nant Mar­itime Re­con­nais­sance and Air­borne ASW for the In­dian Navy and has al­ways been counted as amongst the best and the most feared LRMR plat­forms in the world.

INAS 312 has the unique dis­tinc­tion of op­er­at­ing the heav­i­est, fastest and high­est fly­ing tur­bo­prop 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 yeo­man 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. The squadron was awarded Unit Ci­ta­tion by the Chief of Naval Staff in the year 2002 for out­stand­ing pro­fes­sion­al­ism and mo­men­tous con­tri­bu­tion to the Ser­vice 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 March 29, 2017. Com­man­der Yo­gen­der Mair, the last Com­mand­ing Of­fi­cer of the Squadron with TU-142M air­craft handed over the reins to Com­man­der V. Ran­ganathan, who will be the first Com­mand­ing Of­fi­cer of the Squadron with the Boe­ing P-8I air­craft. The Boe­ing P-8I air­craft ded­i­cated to the na­tion by the erst­while De­fence Min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar on Novem­ber 13, 2015, is the third type of air­craft, af­ter the Lock­heed L1049G Su­per Con­stel­la­tion and the TU-142M air­craft, to be op­er­ated by INAS 312. The P-8I air­craft has proven all its sys­tems and has been fully in­te­grated into the op­er­a­tional grid of the In­dian Navy.

The other event of mile­stone pro­por­tion was the cel­e­bra­tion of Sil­ver Ju­bilee of INS Ra­jali the air sta­tion which was syn­ony­mous with the TUs, and its home for the last 29 years. A spe­cial cover was also re­leased by the Postal De­part­ment to mark the oc­ca­sion.

Wel­com­ing the next-gen­er­a­tion: In­dian Navy’s TU-142M flies over Boe­ing P-8I air­craft at INS Ra­jali in Tamil Nadu

(TOP, L-R) Com­mis­sion­ing of TU-142M by De­fence Min­is­ter K.C. Pant at INS Hansa; TU static dis­play in­au­gu­rated by Chief of the Naval Staff Ad­mi­ral Su­nil Lanba at INS Ra­jali; (Above) Wa­ter canon cer­e­mony for TU-142M.

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