INAS 312 Maritime Reconnaisance Squadron of the Eastern Naval Command of Indian Navy, based at Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu, celebrated its Silver Jubilee Anniversary on 18 Nov 13. The Silver Jubilee celebrations of operations of the TU 142M aircraft, with the moniker ‘Albatross’, were held at INS Rajali, a premier naval Air Station operating under the control of the Eastern Naval Command.
The celebrations were kicked off with a Seminar on Maritime Operations held at INS Rajali on 17 Nov 13. Vice Admiral (Retd) Dilip Deshpande, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, himself a member of the Commissioning Crew, delivered the key note address at the Seminar.
Vice Admiral Anil Chopra, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command was the Chief Guest at the Anniversary events that followed, that included a Cultural Evening and a reception held that evening, wherein he unveiled the Silver Jubilee Plaque to commemorate the event and also released a Coffee Table Book recounting the glorious journey of the Squadron.
Vice Admiral Chopra reviewed the Squadron personnel on parade and cut the customary Anniversary cake. This was followed by a Fly-past in which aircraft from both the Eastern and Western Naval Commands, comprising Chetak helicopters, Dornier, P8I and the TU 142 M took part.
Though originally commissioned on this day in 1976 with the Super Constellation aircraft, the Squadron was re-commissioned with the Tupolov 142 M aircraft, in 1988, by the then Defence Minister, late Shri KC Pant.
Through the years the ‘Albatross’ has rendered yeoman service to the Nation, keeping up with modern developments and advancements in avionics and role equipment, through several retro-fitments/ modifications; the ‘Mighty Bird’ remains an effective Force Multiplier for the Indian Navy, taking part in all major naval exercises and operations. Over the last 25 years of operations, the Squadron has flown over 28,000 hours of incident and accident free flying on the TU 142 M aircraft.
Press Release, November 22, 2013; Image: Indian Navy