The Indian Navy’s iconic Tupolev-142M anti-submarine warfare aircraft was decommissioned after serving as a mainstay in guarding the Indian Ocean region for almost three decades.
The Soviet-era aircraft, known as one of the most formidable airborne reconnaissance platforms around the world, were part of all major naval exercises and operations of Indian Navy since its induction in 1988.
Tupolev-142M fleet is being replaced by 12 P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft of Boeing which are equipped with harpoon anti-ship missiles, lightweight torpedoes, rockets and new generation sensors and radars.
A total of eight Tupolev-142Ms were inducted into the Navy and currently only three of them are in operation.
With its four powerful engines, slender fuselage and swept wings, Tupolev is the fastest turboprop aircraft in the world and reportedly is difficult to intercept by fighters.
The aircraft saw action during Operation Cactus in Maldives and participated in operational missions off Sri Lanka to provide airborne surveillance.