Visakhapatnam: President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday inaugurated the Naval Maritime Aircraft Museum here, featuring the maritime patrol aircraft Tupolev-142M, which served the Navy for almost three decades.

The museum, located at the famous Beach Road, will feature the reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft which was decommissioned in March this year. With four engines and eight propellers, the TU-142 was the most formidable aircraft in the world while in service, an official said. The Soviet era aircraft had an accident-free record and served in various operations including the Kargil war, he added.

The Andhra Pradesh government spent Rs 10 crore over four months for the museum project, the official said, adding the Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority will look after the museum.  As the city is prone to cyclones, special provisions, like erection of toughened glass shields to prevent damage to the aircraft and corrosion, have been made, the official said.

 "The museum will recreate the entire set-up of the aircraft while in operation, including places for pilots, observers, equipment and weapons. One will get an actual feel of the aircraft like when it was in service," Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Naval Command, Vice Admiral Karambir Singh said.

‘The Hunter’, as the TU-142M was called, and ‘The Hunted’ (submarine INS Kursura) are now on either side of the Beach Road, near the 'Victory at Sea' memorial. INS Kursura is a decommissioned submarine that was converted into a museum.

Governor ESL Narasimhan, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapati Raju and Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba were present. The President, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, will visit the Command headquarters here on Friday and present the Presidential Colours to the Submarine Arm of the Navy that is celebrating its golden jubilee year.