April 21, 2024
One of the six surviving Foxbats was flown here on retirement.
MiG-25R KP-351 as installed on a platform at the Gol Market in the National Defence Academy. Photo Courtesy : Manu Pubby

It was known quite early on in 2006 that NDA Khadakvasla was going to get a MiG-25 to add to its collection. Many press reports originating from the MiG-25 Phase out ceremony had mentioned that NDA was on the list of locations which will receive the Foxbats.

MiG-25R KP-351 as installed on a platform at the Gol Market in the National Defence Academy. Photo Courtesy : Manu Pubby Click to Enlarge

Not soon after the May 1st, 2006 ceremony at Bareilly, Kapil Chandni visited Lohegaon to cover the Golden Jubilee of the Lightnings, he observed a single seater Foxbat parked at a corner of the airfield – no doubt that this aircraft was headed out to the National Defence Academy at Khadakvasla, which is about some 20 km south of Pune.

A view from the front reveals the classic lines of the Foxbat. The aircraft currently does not feature any fencing or railing to keep away onlookers. Photo Courtesy : Manu Pubby

Click to Enlarge

However it took nearly six months for the MiG-25 to recommence its journey from Lohegaon to Khadakvasla. On November 15, airmen from No.2 Wing dismantled the MiG-25, KP-351 and transported it by truck to NDA. It was a huge effort, as the trailer was only 40 feet long and the MiG was well over 70 feet in length! The 25 odd kilometers from Lohegaon to Khadakvasla took more than five hours. The Pune Traffic Police providing help in regulating the traffic, the MiG traversed the distance by night.

It was decided that the Gol Market area within the NDA campus would make a proper place to install this aircraft. The Gol Market is the main shopping are in the Academy campus.

Click to Enlarge Click to read in detail on the plaque installed in front of the aircraft. Photo Courtesy : Manu Pubby

It was re-assembled onsite by engineers who had been flown in from AFS Bareilly. A Plaque was put up in front of the aircraft that gave details of the this particular aircraft. It was revealed that KP-351 was flown to Pune from Bareilly by Wg Cdr A Chauhan, who also undertook the last flight of the MiG-25 at the ceremonial phase out on 1st May. Apparently KP-351 was flown during the Kargil Ops as well as the subseqent Op Prakram deployment. It was only fitting that this veteran should spend its life in retirement where future pilots are being groomed. raft had been marked down to “Missing”.

While entry to NDA is restricted, the aircraft is freely accessible for people once they are allowed inside the NDA.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Manu Pubby for the photographs and the information on this page.

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