INAS 312 – The Albatross
The Navy’s first long range Maritime Reconnaissance squadron was commissioned with five ex IAF Super Constellation aircraft on 08 Nov 76. Cdr RD Dhir was the commissioning Squadron Commander. The squadron was initially based at INS Hansa, Goa. The Super Constellation aircraft were phased out in 1983. On 16 Apr 88, Tupolev 142M aircraft were commissioned into the squadron by the, then, Defence Minister, Shri KC Pant, at INS Rajali, Arakkonam. The Albatross, due to their phenomenal Maritime Reconnaissance (MR) capabilities have been spearheading the Navy’s MR effort ever since and are among the finest aircraft of their kind in the world in addition to being the fastest turbo-props. With continuous equipment upgrades and integration of new technologies, the Albatross have remained the lead aircraft for long range reconnaissance, ASW and ESM/ EW missions in the Indian Navy. The aircraft are now being considered for a gradual phasing out with the induction of P 8I multi-mission aircraft.