Air Stations

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During the early eighties, the Indian Navy started evaluating the airfield at Arakkonam as a possible site for its proposed air station on the East coast and a home for a Long-Range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft.

Arakkonam Airfield Layout as in Sep 1945

Super Constellation aircraft

The Super Constellation of INAS 312 were phased out of service in 1985 and the long range MRASW TU 142 M aircraft were inducted in March 1988. The massive TU-142Ms also called the 'Albatross' bestowed an ultra-long range MR and endurance capability upon the Indian Navy but the relatively short runway of INS Hansa at Dabolim, Goa, limited their operations. The airfield‟s infrastructure and facilities were also stretched to the limits with the housing of Sea Harrier, Kiran, IL-38, Chetak and Kamov 25/28 aircraft. Although the LCN of the Dabolim runway was strengthened, taxiways widened and aprons prepared for the Tu-142Ms but the aircraft had to remain parked and serviced in the open. This made it imperative for the Navy to create a new permanent air base in order to fully exploit the operational potential of TU-142 M. The selection of Arakkonam seemed ideal for the purpose.

Mr R Venkataraman, President of India at INS Rajali Commissioning Parade

 

TU - 142M in flight