|Hawker Sea Hawk IN-234, during its early days in a pristine paint scheme|
With the imminent procurement of the INS-Vikrant, India’s first aircraft carrier in the late 50s, A decision to equip the carrier with the Hawker Sea Hawk FGA Mk6 jet fighter as the mainstay. The first 24 of these Sea Hawks were delivered in the autumn of 1959. And the first fighter squadron INAS 300 was commisioned on 7 July 1960.
The Sea Hawk would serve just over two decades before being replaced by the Sea Harrier. During the course of its service, a total of 45 FGA 6s (IN-151 to IN-195) and 28 FGA Mk100s (IN-230 to IN-257) were procured. The Mk 100s were modified aircraft that originally saw service in the German Navy.
|Years later, inspite of the faded paintwork, Hawker Sea Hawk IN-234, is still an impressive aircraft.|
The Indian Navy operated a Sea Hawk in airworthy condition as late as 1988 or so. But this aircraft has been retired and donated to Germany. Today atleast 11 Sea Hawks are known to exist around the country. Six of these with the Navy. One Sea Hawk has been donated overseas.
A lone Mk100 is on display at the NAM. The aircraft overall looks complete and in good condition, as can be seen in the photograph. Special care has been taken to cover the canopy from turning opaque.