April 23, 2024

In October 1998 , the Naval Aviation Musuem was inaugurated and opened for general public. Located at the Bogmalai Beach near Dabolim, this musuem provided a rare glimpse of the origins and evolution of Naval Aviation Wing. This was the Naval equivalent of the Indian Air Force Museum at Palam, though with a smaller collection of aircraft.

When it was opened, the Museum started off with a very modest collection of six aircraft but slowly built up its exhibits and today boasts twelve aircraft on its roster, making it the second largest Aviation Museum in India, a place it shares with the HAL Museum.

The place of pride in the Museum is obviously taken by the aircraft exhibits, of which there are twleve of them, from the Short Sealand to the Alize to the latest Sea Harrier. The Museum also has on exhibit one of the largest aircraft on display, the Lockheed Super Constellation (IN315).

Lockheed L-1049G Super Constellation IN-315 is the largest aircraft on display at the Museum and is the only aircraft to allow visitors to ‘Walk thru’ it.

Different aircraft served with the Naval Air Arm including World War 2 Era Fairey Firefly fighters. Only one of the twelve Fireflies survive today – this can be seen in the Museum. A tiny Hughes Hu300 helicopter was the sole representative of the rotarycraft fleet of the Indian Navy for quite sometime. Now this has been joined by a Westland Seaking and a Chetak Helicopter.

Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge
The weapons and Armament galleries feature a variety of bombs, torpedos, sensors and cannon used by Naval Aircraft over the ages.

A Visitor who enters the museum can first visit the main indoor galleries in the building to his right. The entrance itself is modelled after the interiors of an Aircraft carrier. and once you enter the building, you are faced with various exhibits ranging from armament and weapons to sensors and equipment. Seperate rooms illustrate flight safety measures and equipment – An ejection seat that was used in a sucessful bale out by Lt Cdr Sanjay Chitnis from a Kiran in 2001 is on display, dented badly but very illustrative.

Click to Enlarge A Massive Model of the INS Vikrant on display inside one of the interior galleries. A Similar model of the INS Viraat can also bee seen.
This is a Centrifugal flow RR Jet Engine of the Sea Hawk. Click to Enlarge

A large gallery at the end of the building is home to a massive collection of historical photographs related to Indian Naval Aviation. Virtually every Squadron and Unit in Indian Naval History has a section – with a detailed history and illustrated with photographs from every point in time.

Among the surprise ‘exhibits’ were the Photographs of the Messerschmitt Bf109 from Gulbarga taken by the Webmaster. These were sent to the FOC-in-C WNC at that time and have today found themselves in the Museum – albeit wrongly captioned as ‘A German fighter from Assam’!

- This Ejection seat was used by Lt Cdr S Chitnis in a sucessful ejectio from a Kiran at Viskhapatnam on 8 Dec 1999

It would not be possible to describe in detail the wealth of information in the indoor galleries except to stay that if you are a hard core historian or a naval technical enthusiast, be prepared to spend a lot more time inside the building than outside looking at the aircraft exhibits! – The IAF can take a lesson here and organise a more detailed historical collection in the IAFM.

Aircraft Type Serial No Remarks
Sea Hawk IN-234 Naval Air Museum, Dabolim
BAe Sea Harrier IN-621 Naval Air Museum, Dabolim
Short Sealand IN-106 Naval Air Museum, Dabolim
De Havilland Dove IN-124 Naval Air Museum, Dabolim
Breguet Alize IN-202 Naval Air Museum, Dabolim
De Havilland Vampire T.55 IN-149 Naval Air Museum, Dabolim
Hughes Hu 269c IN-083 Naval Air Museum, Dabolim
Lockheed L1049G Constellation IN-315 Naval Air Museum, Dabolim
Fairey Firefly IN-112 Naval Air Museum, Dabolim
Westland Seaking Mk 42 IN-505 Naval Air Museum, Dabolim
Alloutte III Chetak IN-475 Naval Air Museum, Dabolim
HAL HT-2 BX-748 Naval Air Museum, Dabolim

Thanks to Hans van Herk and Graham Tanner for the Serial Numbers above.

The museum is open on all days from 10.00 hrs to 16.00 hrs, but is closed on Mondays and National Holidays. A nominal admission fee is charged. For details, contact: Officer-in-Charge, Naval Aviation Museum, Bogmalo Road, Dabolim, GOA – 403 801. Tel: 510183 Ext. 5525.

Recommended Links:

1. Ulysys Menezes’s Goa Portal has a report on the Naval Aviation Museum http://www.goa-world.net/naval/index.htm
2. An ANI TV News report from the Tribune India Website. http://www.tribuneindia.com/2001/20011203/dec2feav1-56k.rm. The news clip is 2 Min long and requires real player

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