Air Force Museum: a Treasure Chest of Airborne Warriors

Some Delhi tour packages include visits to the Air Force Museum, near the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. This building consists of an indoor exhibition, a hangar and an outdoor area where the real show is organised. The indoor exhibition has on display photographs of veteran pilots and officers. A wall inside the buildings in golden letters pays tribute to those who were killed in the various wars the country fought. Apart from the planes, bombs, missiles and rockets many things presented to officers such as swords, shields, models of boats and Vijay Stambh of Chittorgarh Fort and rifles are kept inside the hangars.


The hangar and the outdoor area house many military and fighter airplanes, which make the museum a place to visit to learn more about these. Some machines here were not used by India, but acquired from other countries. The single pilot Westland Lysander, given to India by Canada, is one such exhibit. It was used in WWII to transport commanders, for reconnaissance and as ambulance. Wapiti, manufactured by Westland, was used extensively by the Indian Air Force (IAF) for bombing. Percival Pretence, an unarmed trainer used by the country, is also part of the display. One of the heroes of the 1971 conflict, Hawker Hunter, along with two more Hawker models, namely Hurricane and Tempest can also be seen. The hangar also possesses a Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka aircraft, used by the Japanese.

Also here on showcase is the British Supermarine Spitfire, one of the most popular battle planes in the world. Ouragan and Mystere IV, made by Dassult, are among the bombers in the collection. A de Havilland Vampire, used for the first time by India, in the 1965 Indo-Pak war is also worth beholding. Another plane housed here, having seen action in the 1965 and 1971 wars is the legendary Folland Gnat. Sukhoi-7, one of the earliest models built in this series, is among the Russian machines displayed in the hangar. The other Russian fighter of this exhibition is the ill-fated MIG 21, which has a history of crashes and malfunctions. Machines built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and kept here include Krishak and Marut. Poland also finds representation through its aircraft PZL TS-11 Iskra.

Outdoor Galley and Vintage Fighters

The English Electric Canberra is a bomber, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, housed in the outdoor section. Another dedicated bomber of the IAF, seen here, is the Consolidated B-24 Liberator. Two planes, still in operation with the IAF, housed here are the MIG 23 and MIG 25. The American Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxer is one of the airborne transporters, which can be seen out here. Helicopters also find representation in the gallery with the multi-purpose Sikorsky H-19 Chickasaw. Among other helicopters, basking in glory is the Mi-4 transporter, built by the Russian company MIL. The vintage section is sealed and people cannot enter inside, but can view the exhibits through a glass-door.

One of the machines in this gallery is the de Havilland Tiger Moth biplane, introduced in 1932 and used for bombing. A retired trainer, designed by HAL, HT-2 is also part of this collection. Another vintage trainer, worth seeing during such tour packages, is the T-6 Texan, made by North American Aviation. More transporters in the museum are the Soviet Antonov AN-12, Canadian de Havilland DHC-4 Caribou, Russian Ilyushin IL-14 and the Soviet Tupolev Tu-124.


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