The state government has decided to set up a museum with a TU-142 anti-submarine warfare aircraft in Vizag. For the soon-to-be decommissioned aircraft that is to be converted, a la the INS Kursura Submarine museum, the search is on for a suitable site.
VUDA Chariman T Baburao Naidu reportedly inspected places along the Beach Road for the same. A team of officials, including Commander Sujit Reddy of the Navy and Lt. N.R. Kumar and Commander R.J. Singh – who piloted the aircraft – has inspected a vacant place that falls under Andhra University, one opposite the INS Kursura Museum and another next to the helipad near VUDA Park.
The aircraft will soon be decommissioned at the Naval Air Station INS Rajali located in Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu on March 29. The TU-142 was bought in from Russia and is still the heaviest and fastest turbo-propelled aircraft in the world. The 54 meter craft with 50 meters of wing span will have served the Indian Navy for 30 years and a PI-8 has been commissioned as its replacement. The cost of turning the TU-142 into a museum will reportedly be around Rs 5 crore.
District Collector Pravin Kumar has stated that the museum will be jointly put up by the Indian Navy and VUDA, with VUDA alone responsible for its maintenance. With the decommissioning set in stone, the Navy had previously offered up the aircraft for conversion and the state government evinced interest. March 26 is the last date for Expression of Interest (EoI).