The Indian navy retires its iconic Tupolev Tu-142ME “Albatross” long-range maritime patrol aircraft at the end of March.
New Delhi was Tupolev’s the only export customer for the type, which has been used primarily in the anti-submarine warfare and maritime patrol roles, in addition to performing photographic and radio reconnaissance missions.
Increasing maintenance costs, obsolescence-related issues and the induction of India’s new Boeing P-8I maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft have been cited as reasons for the decision to phase out the aged type.
Only three of the eight Taganrog-built Tu-142MEs, which were introduced in 1988, remain operational.
India’s navy currently operates eight P-8Is, and has placed orders for four more. Boeing will begin the additional deliveries in 2020, which will be completed within a one-year period.
Russian Beriev Aircraft Company has performed an overhaul to aircraft in 2014.