|Two views of the HAL Gnat E1046 seen mounted on poles at Hashimara. The aircraft features the emblem of No.22 Squadron ‘The Swifts’. Picture Courtesy: Sanjay Simha (left) and Rahul Devnath (Right)|
HAL Ajeet E1046 is prominently displayed in front of what may be a major building / Hangar at Hasimara. The aircraft bears the markings of the “Swifts” – No. 22 Squadron, AF.
No.22 Squadron ‘The Swifts’, are arguably the most publicised Squadron of the 1971 War, thanks to their success at the Boyra Air Battle, in which three Pakistani Sabres were shot down by the pilots of this Squadron just before the commencement of hostilities.
The Squadron operated the Gnat for years before upgrading to the Ajeet. It moved to Hashimara in Feb 1990. Two months later the Swifts re-equipped with the MiG-27ML ground attack aircraft and have been operating the MiG-27 ever since.
|View of the Ajeet from the starboard side clearly shows the aircraft is in a ‘bank’. Picture Courtesy: Rahul Devnath|
|The base of the installation doubles up as a Plaque giving details of the aircraft. Picture Courtesy: Rahul Devnath|
The Gnat [E1046] is one of the late production examples before the focus switched to the HAL Ajeet. This Ajeet found its way to the display here due to the efforts of Air Marshal Darshan Singh Basra,who was the Commodore Commandant of the Squadron.
This particular aircraft may have been converted up into the Ajeet Standard, as the plaque at the base of the aircraft identifies it as an Ajeet. The Aircraft is installed on a unique metal frame that mounts it at a 40 degree nose up angle. The entire load of the aircraft is borne by the metal frame fixed to the rear of the aircraft.
The ejection seat in the cockpit has been removed (naturally), and a traingular patch is painted on the side of the cockpit with the crest of the Swifts in the middle.
|A view from the front showcases the clean lines fo the Gnat’s underbelly. Picture Courtesy: Rahul Devnath|