India Navy Il 38SD IN307 credit Vyacheslav Grushnikov 640Indian Navy Sea Dragons to be withdrawn

After 46 years of service, the Bharatiya Nau Sena (Indian Navy) will withdraw their remaining Ilyushin Il-38SD Sea Dragon Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance (LRMR) aircraft from operational service.

On 26 January 2023, the Il-38SD will participate in the Indian Republic Day Parade flypast for the first and last time. How many aircraft will join is not known. Soon after, the Goa/Dabolim (INS Hansa) based aircraft will be stored.

The aircraft are operated by Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 315 Winged Stallion. The Il-38 was inducted into service from 1977 onwards and five aircraft were procured till 1983.

In October 2002, the Indian Navy lost two aircraft in a mid-air collision above INS Hansa in Goa. Two ex Russian Navy Il-38s were added to the squadron in December 2009 and February 2010.

At INS Hansa, the Sea Dragons will be replaced by the Boeing P-8I Neptune, of which four aircraft have been delivered to INAS316 The Condors since December 2021. The new unit was officially commissioned on 29 March 2022.

One Il-38SD, serial IN305, was put on display at the Naval Aviation Museum at Goa/Dabolim in March 2020. It is not known what will happen to the other aircraft.

Overview of the INAS315 Il-38s:

IN301/DAB (c/n 0810 110 07), d/d 02sep77, upgraded to Il-38SD in 2007
IN302/DAB (c/n 0810 110 09), d/d 02sep77, mid-air collision with IN304 on 01oct02
IN303/DAB (c/n 0810 110 10), d/d 02sep77, upgraded to Il-38SD in 2006
IN304/DAB (c/n 0800 106 10), d/d in 1983, mid-air collision with IN302 on 01oct02
IN305/DAB (c/n 0800 106 09), d/d in 1983, upgraded to Il-38SD in 2002, preserved Naval Aviation Museum at Goa/Dabolim
IN306/DAB (c/n 8700 101 10), d/d dec09, ex Russian Navy
IN307/DAB (c/n 8800 102 07), d/d feb10, ex Russian Navy

Photo by Vyacheslav Grushnikov (via russianplanes.net)

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