The Indian Navy’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft (Tupolev) TU 142M was de-inducted on March 29 after 29 long years of accident-free service. The Russian made aircraft was bid adieu to by Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba at a ceremony held 90 KM away from Chennai at INS Rajali.
Now, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and public representatives are all set to receive the decommissioned (Tupolev) TU 142M aircraft at INS Dega in Visakhapatnam on April 8. Eastern Naval Command’s Vice Admiral HCS Bisht and Union Minister for Civil Aviation P Ashok Gajapati Raju will be present on the occasion. An ex-gratia amount will be handed out on the occasion by the CM to the families of those who went missing aboard the AN 32 aircraft near Chennai last year.
The aircraft will be coming in from INS Rajali and district authorities have already completed the technical evaluation of the tenders for the conversion of the aircraft into a museum, along the lines of Kursura Museum on Beach Road. The financial bid will open today on April 6 for the finalisation of the bidder. Reportedly, five companies are to take place in the bid. The museum will be set in place on an acre of site beside the AU Convention Centre on Beach Road.
VUDA Chairman T Baburao Naidu has reportedly stated that the parking area for the AU Convention Centre would not be affected despite one wing of the aircraft, which stands at 12 – 15 meters in height, extending onto the parking area. The aircraft is all set to be dismantled at INS Dega before being shifted to the site. The entire process of dismantling and assembling will take up 30 – 45 days.
“The aircraft would be placed on a strong surface to be constructed at the site before it is assembled and converted into a museum. It would be anchored with tight support,” Tourism Regional Executive Director B Sriramulu Naidu reportedly said. “Naval experts will clear the space for the convenience of the public to visit the air craft by recommending various issues. Once the aircraft is moved to site, commercial aspects such as ticketing will be discussed,” a senior Navy officer said.
A Naval crew of five will accompany the aircraft and the Naval authorities will be providing their expertise to the project that will cost Rs 10 crore. The weapons inside the aircraft, consisting of Sono buoys, gun, torpedoes, depth charge, will likely be put on display too.