October 7, 2022

HAL MiG division showcases its own in a Museum open to the public

This MiG-27 ML TS-539 at the HAL Museum at Ozhar is the largest pole mounted warbird in India. Picture Courtesy of Sandeep Unnithan Click to Enlarge

Situated outside the town of Nasik, The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s factory, HAL Ozhar has manufactured nearly 600 MiG-21s of FL, M and Bis variants over the years. In addition to the MiG-21, some 165 examples of the MiG-27 were also built. Currently the factory is gearing up to manufacture the Sukhoi-30 MKI. All the aircraft built are test flown from the Ozhar airfield which is attached to the area. Over the years the HAL Factory had also overhaulted hundreds of MiGs including MiG-23BNs, MiG-29s and MiG-23MFs.

In Aug 2001, HAL Ozhar opened up a small museum called the Pragathi Aerospace Museum. Though not a full fledged museum with aircraft as exhibits, a MiG-21 was reported on display outside this museum located in the town center.

This MiG-27 ML TS-539 seen from the side. the aircraft sports the two tone Desert Camoflage, something which has been replaced by the Grey Color in most of the MiG-27s that are flying today. Courtesy of Laxman Anantaramu

However recently Mr. Sandeep Unnithan visited the Museum in Nasik and reported back that it was a ‘MiG haven’. The pride of place in the museum goes to a MiG-27 ML [TS-539] which is pole mounted and floodlit in the night. The photographs of the MiG-27 speak for themselves.

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The Two MiG-21s on display at the HAL Complex in Ozhar as part of the Museum. One of them is a Bis, while the one on the left is an FL. Courtesy of Laxman Anantaramu

The area also houses Two MiG-21s mounted on Pylons. Though initially we thought that no way can any of these two be an FL, Rishi Tandon in his sighting report has indicated that these aircraft are serialled C-2836 and C-1175. The significance of both these serials has not struck us till we consulted our MiG Serial registry and found out that both represent the last aircraft of the type built. C-1175 is the last FL and C-2836 is believed to be the last Bis. The presence of the Bis, which should be the last ever MiG-21 model built in India and thus probably had quite some of its TTL left is not explained. Both aircraft are pylon mounted near a traffic roundabout.

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These non-clickable pictures show the MiG-21s again. The Picture on the left shows both the MiGs displayed in opposite directions at the HAL museum. Courtesy of Laxman Anantaramu

Rishi has mentioned that the museum consists of two rooms. One contains a pictorial representation of HAL history, flight history from birds to Shuttle, fighter tech etc.. and some models of HAL produced aircraft. Other room contains some cat-E components(polished up) of mainly Mig-21. Landing gears and rubber seals and other misc stuff. What is interesting are some of the photos of the HAL factory coming up, photos of visits by IAF big shots of old etc. as well as the MiG-21 Pilot’s Helmet and Flight Suit dating from 1963 in mint condition on a horrible mockup of the MiG-21’s cockpit. Apparently photographs are not allowed.

The Museum is in HAL Township (aka MiG-City) opposite HAL factory/Ojhar Airbase. Enter from Gate No.3. Its 4 KM from the runway and on the other side of NH No. 3. HAL township is 3 KM from Ohjar Village, and 20 km from Nashik proper. The 5 minutes tour (tickets cost just Rs 5 for Adults, Rs 2 for the kids – thats 10 cents and 4 cents!) is conducted by a retired HAL gentleman, in English, Hindi or Marathi.

Aircraft Type No Remarks
MiG-27 ML TS-539 Pragathi Aerospace Museum
MiG-21 -NA- Pragathi Aerospace Museum
MiG-21 -NA- Pragathi Aerospace Museum

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