Navy may offer Sea Harrier fighter jet for aircraft museum in Kolkata

Kolkata, Dec 3 (PTI) The Indian Navy is considering to offer a decommissioned Sea Harrier fighter plane to the city after having gifted a Tupolov-142 for setting up an aircraft museum at New Town here, a senior official said on Tuesday.

The West Bengal government is setting up a museum featuring the 'Albatross' and it is likely to be thrown open to the public by mid-2020, Naval Officer-in-charge, Bengal Area, Commodore Suprobho De told newspersons on the eve of the Navy Day here.

'A TU-142 aircraft has been handed over by the Navy to M/S Taneja Aerospace on November 15 for dismantling, transportation and reassembly towards setting up a TU museum at Kolkata,' he said.

De said preparatory activities at the site has been commenced by the state government and land has been cleared of encroachment and flattened for the Tupolov-142 aircraft museum, which will be the second of its kind in the country after Vishakhapatnam.

Commodore De said the aircraft is likely to arrive in the city by January next year.

The Navy is also considering to offer a decommissioned Sea Harrier plane to the city during future talks with the state government, he said.

Vishakhapatnam authorities have already got a Sea Harrier plane from the Navy and is likely to set up a museum in the lines of the existing TU-142 museum and Kursura submarine there, which have proved to be major tourist attractions.

The Navy retired the British-made Sea Harrier fighters in 2016 after a distinguished service since their induction in December, 1983.

Regarding the upcoming TU-142 museum at New Town here, a Navy officer said 'we have been assured that the museum in Kolkata will have more attractions than that at Vishakhapatnam'.

The officer said that a team of West Bengal government officials recently visited the TU-142 museum at the Andhra Pradesh beach resort town.

While the aircraft has been provided by the Navy, expenses for dismantling and transporting the plane from Tamil Nadu and then reassembling it here would be borne by the state government.

There will be a mannequin resembling a pilot in the cockpit and visitors can see the machinery, bombs, torpedoes and gunner compartments of the plane as they walk through the aircraft museum, a Navy officer said.

The Indian Navy's workhorse long-range maritime patrol and anti-submarine aircraft TU-142M was de-inducted in March 2018 after 29 years of accident-free service.

The Russian-made turboprop aircraft with four engines and eight propellers, aptly named the 'Albatross', was inducted into the Indian Navy in 1988. PTI AMR SOM SOM