The process for setting up of a naval aircraft museum in Kolkata has completed its first phase after the Indian Navy’s decommissioned TU- 142 aircraft that was handed over to KMDA on 15 November 2019, was dismantled and was brought to Kolkata on 14 February. The defence spokesperson confirmed that the aircraft has arrived and will now be re-assembled towards setting up of the naval museum.
The preparatory activities at the New Town Kolkata site where the museum is supposed to come up, has commenced. The land adjacent to the police station has been cleared, flattened and the base on which the aircraft will be erected, has been completed. The aircraft reassembling will commence shortly and is likely to be completed by early March. The Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority(KMDA) has also started work on the next phase with identification of an architect to design the layout of the museum.
It may be noted that the naval officer-in-charge (NOIC), West Bengal, Commodore Suprobho K De had said” The Tupolev TU-142M aircraft were the largest turbo prop aircraft in the world and there are atleast six or seven of them.” The Tupolev TU-142s were a maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft and were reportedly derived from the TU-95 turboprop strategic bomber. Most of these have already been decommissioned by the Indian Naval arm.
It was learnt that these TU 142M aircraft have now lost their air worthiness and have already been decommissioned. The Navy however wants to preserve them rather than just disposing them as scrap materials. The whole work and cost of bringing the aircraft from Chennai to Kolkata is being borne by the KMDA while the aircraft has been handed over to M/s Taneja Aerospace on 15 November for dismantling, transportation and reassembly towards setting up the TU Museum at Kolkata.
Commodore De had mentioned that there are chances that other decommissioned assets of Indian Navy such as Sea Harrier fighter jets and navy warships could also be brought in future and used for museum purposes.