September 29, 2022

The latest addition to the Warbird population of Hyderabad was a Mikoyan MiG-21U Trainer at the College of Defence Management near Sainikpuri. The MiG-21 Two seater type trainer [S.No. U-660] was installed in June 2001 at the new premises of the College of Defence Management [CDM] near Sainikpuri. The CDM was earlier located in a temporary premises in Bolarum. A New complex was constructed as a permanent place for CDM and the College moved in Mid 2001 to this place.

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Mikoyan MiG-21U U-660 on display at Sainikpuri in front of the the College of Defence Management.

To illustrate the nature of operations of the tri-services, It was decided to install some artifacts that would represent the nature of each arm. The entrance to the College. The Army had installed a pair of 6.5 inch Howitzers. The Navy has installed one of the Anchors of INS Vikrant. U-660 is the Air Force’s representation in this trio of monuments.

Closeup of the front section of U-660 shows the Cockpit with its ejection seats, and the detail of the nose inlet cover. Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge U-660 has this unidentified Red Flash marking on its rear fuselage. In the background can be seen the College of Defence Management and also the side view of the anchor of INS Vikrant on the cement pedestal.

The plaque at the base of the platform gives some interesting details on this particular aircraft. It was inducted into the airforce in 1966, which probably made it one of the first two-seater MiG-21Us in the IAF. From then until 1993, the aircraft flew 2984 hours in service. We managed to trace an old photo of U-660 in IAF service. The aircraft was in No.8 Squadron’s service and sported a camouflage scheme. Currently the aircraft is in its natural metal finish. The vertical fin sports a Red Arrow styled Slash emblem.

Seen here during its service with No.8 ‘Pursoots’ Squadron, U-660 sported a Camoflage Scheme, and the Squadron badge was painted prominently on the nose. Click to Enlarge

The MiG carries a centerline Droptank, and two Missile launch rails. The Jet’s air intake and the Exhaust Jet pipe have been riveted with protective metal plates painted red. The aircraft was reportedly assembled and installed by the same Repair and Salvage team that was working at the Air Force Academy Dundigal. Our efforts to get the construction number of the aircraft came to naught as we could not find any identifying numbers on the aircraft. Even inside the front gear wheel well.

 

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The aircraft is not fenced off or protected from potential vandalism. However, the presence of a Guard Room at the entrance of the CDM , is a deterrence.

When we visited the aircraft in August 2001, It was in pristine condition. Surprisingly, there was no fence or boundary to keep away the general public. One can walk upto the aircraft and touch it and peep wherever you want to, This enabled us to get a camera shot inside the cockpit. The Picture later showed that though many of the instruments have been removed, the Control Column and switches are still there. The aircraft also retained its ejection seats and visually presents a complete picture of a MiG-21U.

Click to Enlarge The plaque giving details of the aircraft’s service life. U-660 flew 2984 hours during its service life with the IAF.
A Glance inside the cockpit shows that most of the instruments have been taken out, but the switches and the Pilots Control Stick are still in the aircraft. Click to Enter

The aircraft is the only displayed warbird in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad that can be seen by the General Public. The view of the Hunter at College of Air Warfare has now been obstructed by a Seven foot high wall. Not many people know of this aircraft, as it is located away from the hustle and bustle of the main city. But one can be sure that in days to come, it will become a landmark for warbird enthusiasts of Hyderabad city.

[Camera Courtesy : Vijay Simha Reddy]

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