Delhi: After world's oldest aircraft carrier, another naval platform is now set for retirement.
As per The Times of India, the Soviet-origin Tupolev-142M aircraft, which kept an eye on enemy warships and submarines in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) for almost 30 years, will be decommissioned later this month.
It is said to be world's largest and fastest turboprop aircraft and is named the 'Albatross'.
Navy had inducted eight TU-142Ms since 1988.
The report said the TU-142Ms were being replaced by the 12 Poseidon-8I long-range patrol aircraft acquired from the US for $3.2 billion.
Eight P-8Is have already been inducted, as per TOI.
"They were the backbone of our long-range maritime reconnaissance (LRMR) and anti-submarine warfare operations. But only three are fully operational now. They will now be retired at the naval air station INS Rajali in Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu at a ceremony on March 29," an officer was quoted as saying by the media house.
"They also have the highest flying altitude among turboprops, with an operational ceiling of over 13,000 metre. But the sensors and weapon systems of TU-142Ms have become outdated with age, apart from requiring heavy maintenance and costly spare parts," the officer added.
"If the TU-142Ms were hawk-eyes, the P-8Is are far more potent intelligent hawk-eyes," he was further quoted as saying.
Yesterday, aircraft carrier INS Viraat sailed into sunset, after nearly 30 years with the Indian Navy.
The warship was decommissioned at an impressive ceremony onboard and in the presence of Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba and top armed forces officials.
The aircraft carrier, in its earlier avatar, had won the Falklands War against Argentina in 1982 for the Royal British Navy.
It served in the British Navy as HMS Hermes from November 1959 to April 1984 and after refurbishment, was commissioned into the Indian Navy.
In the late 80s, Indian Navy purchased it at the cost of USD 65 million and was re-commissioned on 12 May 1987.
(With PTI inputs)