April 23, 2024

Port Blair, the capital city of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India, boasts a rich aviation history deeply intertwined with its strategic significance and remote location. Initially serving as a stopover for flights between the Indian mainland and Southeast Asia, Port Blair’s aviation journey began in the early 20th century with the establishment of an airfield by the British colonial administration. The airfield was taken over by the Japanese after WW2 broke out and a runway was built from which the Japanese operated single-engine fighters flying air defence sorties. They also had a base where Sea Planes flew bombing missions against mainland India. In turn, Port Blair was the target for many bombing raids mounted by the RAF in India as well.

Today the Navy operates INS Utkrosh out of the airfield. Currently about four aircraft are known to be around the island as warbirds. MiG-21 C-606 is one of them, the only Jet fighter on display in these far eastern islands.

Photo Credit: Akshay Saseendran @Island_Thought

The aircraft is pole-mounted right before the entrance to the HQ Building of Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC), which is close to the Port Blair airfield.

The combat history of C-606 is unknown. It likely saw service during the 1971 war but has not turned up in any of our records yet. Thanks to the informative placard on the site of the installation, other details of this airframe are recorded in detail …. like in never-before-encountered type detail. I wish more installations were done like this.

C-606 was built/delivered on 27th June 1967 and served for 23 years. It underwent two major overhauls internally with HAL Nashik before being withdrawn from flying service. Its last flight was on 20th August 1990, by which time it accumulated 2300:15 hours. Subsequently, the aircraft spent time as a ground instructional airframe at Barrackpore.

After the phaseout of the T-77 in 2013, the airframe was allotted for display to Port Blair on 3rd February 2015. However, it doesn’t appear to have been erected in its current location till about April 2023.

Original tweet by Akshay Saseendran

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