Indian Navy retires TU142M maritime patrol aircraft

The Indian Navy is decommissioning the TU142M Long Range Maritime Patrol aircraft after it spent 29 years serving the nation.

The Russian-built Tupolev aircraft will be formally de-inducted by Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff during a ceremony at Indian Naval Air Station Rajali, in Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu on March 29.

The TU142M Long Range Maritime Patrol (NATO reporting name: Bear F/J) aircraft was inducted into the Indian Navy at Dabolim Goa in 1988. The aircraft subsequently shifted base permanently to INS Rajali in 1992 and became the Indian Navy’s primary long range maritime reconnaissance anti-submarine warfare aircraft.

TU142M saw action during operation ‘Cactus’ in Maldives and participated in operational missions off Sri Lanka to provide airborne surveillance. Powered by four engines, the TU142M is the fastest turboprop aircraft in the world, according to the Indian Navy.

The TU142M is being replaced by the newly inducted Boeing-built P-8l aircraft. Commander Yogender Mair, the last commanding officer of the squadron with TU142M aircraft will hand over the reins to Commander V Ranganathan, who will be the first Squadron Commanding Officer with the P-8l.