Maritime trade and warfare have been associated with India since ancient times. The Rig Veda, written around 15th century BC, mentions Varuna as having knowledge of sea routes. Clans such as the Mauryas, Cholas, Guptas, Pandyas, Vijayanagara Empire and others are known to have formidable navies. The modern navy of India has been active since 1947 and now has over 500000 personnel and 181 ships. In 1948, it got an additional boost with the setting up of the Air Arm. This Air Arm has used a variety of aircraft, some of which are displayed in the Naval Aviation Museum in Goa. People coming to the state for beach holidays can consider seeing its exhibits.
Naval Aviation Museum
The Naval Aviation Museum is situated in Bogmalo and lies at a short distance of 6 km from the city of Vasco da Gama. Opened to the public in 1998, it is one amongst the only two military aviation museums in India. It has been divided into two main sections: an outdoor yard and a two-storey building, housing galleries. The first thing that people notice as they enter the yard is the Super Constellation. It was a passenger aircraft made by the American company Lockheed. With each of its four engines generating 3250 horsepower, it could fly at a speed of 531 km/hour with a total weight of 54431 kg. It was given to the naval air wing in 1976 and was decommissioned in 1983. One of the three surviving specimens of the amphibious plane Short Sealand is also on display. India bought ten Fairey Firefly fighters, which were built to take off and land on an aircraft carrier. One of these can also be seen in the open air section of the museum. HAL HT-2, which was used to train fighter pilots, is also among the exhibits. Also kept here is a de Havilland Vampire, which was armed with guns, missiles and bombs and had a cruising velocity of 882 km/hour. The 4208 kg Hawker Sea Harrier also attracts visitors. Armed with four 20 mm cannons and other bombs and missiles in 6 hard points, it operated from INS Vikrant and destroyed dozens of Pakistani boats and ships during the 1971 war.
Another carrier-borne fighter, formerly used by the Navy and now housed here, is the French Breguet Alize. It was made to specifically target enemy submarine, which it destroyed with torpedoes. Dove is a short-haul passenger plane, made by de Havilland, which is also part of the outdoor exhibition. Among the helicopters are the Aerospatiale Alouette III made under license by HAL as Chetak, the Hughes TH-55 Osage used for training and the Westland Sea King. The latter was pressed in anti-submarine operations by India and is still being used. The anti-submarine operations of India were further boosted by the Soviet Kamov KA-25 attack helicopters, one of which is also a part of the display. INS Viraat and Vikrant operate the Harrier Jump-Jet, which is the only VTOL fighter in service with the Indian forces. Visitors coming here as part of their Goa tour package can also visit the indoor gallery, where various missiles, bombs and other weapons are kept.