One way in which Visakhapatnam separates itself from other tourist destinations is in how it celebrates the glorious history of the nation’s armed forces. The prime example of this is the INS Kursura Submarine Museum at RK Beach Road, which is the first such museum in South Asia. Another one is the TU-142 Aircraft Museum in Vizag, exactly opposite to the submarine. One of the latest tourist attractions in the city, it has been witnessing hundreds of tourists daily, especially on weekends. Though the museum had to be closed temporarily due to the Covid-19 lockdown in the city, tourist footfall has now recovered to an extent.
The museum was inaugurated by the President of India, Ramnath Kovind in December 2017. The restoration of the aircraft and its establishment as a museum was done by the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) at a cost of around Rs. 14 crores. Here’s all you need to know about this aircraft museum, which is quickly becoming one of the most popular tourist attractions in Vizag.
TU-142 is a turboprop aircraft which specialises in anti-submarine warfare and long range maritime recognition.
- This aircraft was designed by Russian aeronautical engineer Andrei Tupolev, whom it is named after
- It was manufactured by Kuibyshev Aviation and Taganrog Machinery Plants.
- This aircraft had arrived on Indian shores with its 7 brothers, as part of an agreement between India and the Soviet Union
- It was commissioned by the Indian Navy in 1988 and inducted into Indian Naval Air Squadron (INS) 312
- At the time of its arrival, the tagline “Moscow to Vasco” was spoken a lot, for the aircraft had come from Russia to Vasco-da-Gama in Goa, India.
- This aircraft has given 29 years of service to the navy with a 100 percent success record
- TU-142 played a critical role in the 1988 Operation Cactus in the Maldives where a coup was prevented
- Further, TU-142 also made a valuable contribution to India’s victory in the 1999 Kargil War
- The aircraft also played its part in the 2001-2002 military standoff between India and Pakistan, which is known as Operation Parakram
- Also, this aircraft reportedly brought down a pirate’s ship in the Arabian Sea during its service
- In 2017, this aircraft was decommissioned with full honours by the Indian Navy in Arakkonam on 29 March 2017, with more than 30,000 hours of accident-free flying under its belt
- Later, TU-142 was shifted to Visakhapatnam where it was placed as a museum at RK Beach Road for tourists and defence enthusiasts
Things to know about TU-142
- TU-142 is the fastest turboprop aircraft in the world, with a maximum speed of 855 kmph
- It is 53.08 m in length, with a wing-to-wing distance of 50 m
- This aircraft can achieve a maximum ceiling altitude of 10 km
- It can remain in the air for 16 hours 45 minutes at a stretch
- TU-142 has a fuel capacity of 100 tonnes
- The aircraft is fondly referred to as the Albatross, for it resembles the bird in its skillset and appearance
All you need to know about visiting TU-142 Aircraft Museum in Vizag
Before visiting the TU-142 Aircraft Museum at RK Beach Road and dipping yourself in Indian naval history, here are the things you should know:
- An entry fare of Rs. 70 will be charged
- Visitors will then receive a guided tour of the museum, where people will learn the history of the aircraft, its interesting features and how it functions
- Then, visitors will get to step into the actual aircraft and witness what it felt to be working in it
- People will also get to watch a holographic representation of the aircraft
- For those interested, there is also a flight simulator at the museum with Virtual Reality (VR) headsets which people can use to feel like a defence pilot
- Photography is prohibited inside the aircraft but people can take pictures at other places in the museum
- Timings: 2 PM to 8:30 PM (Monday to Saturday), 10 AM to 12 PM and 2 PM to 8:30 PM (Sunday)