April 23, 2024
A Hawker Hunter in Thunderbolts scheme adorns the entrance to the airbase
An unidentified Hawker Hunter Mk.56a mounted on concrete pylons at the Hasimara airfield.

Rahul Devnath was the first to confirm the presence of a Hawker Hunter at the Hasimara airfield entrance. Hasimara had a long history of operating Hunters. During the 1971 War, Hunters of No.17 and No.37 Squadron flew hundreds of sorties into East Pakistan. After the war, for a brief period, various other squadrons operating the type were stationed here.

With the undercarraige doors closed and the whole aircraft painted over in the Thunderbolt blue, there is no clue on the aircraft’s number.

As mentioned earlier, one of the Squadrons that operated the type was No.20 Squadron “The Lightnings” in the mid 80s. At that time the Squadron was in the “Thunderbolts” Aerobatic team role and Hasimara provided them with the right launching pad on which to hone their flying skills.

The Hunter preserved just outside the gate of Hasimara Air Force Station. It sports the unmistakable colors of the striking “Lightning” scheme. Was this a relic that was left behind by the Squadron when it moved out of here? We dont know.

A plaque in front of the aircraft has a type history of the aircraft and nothing more.

The aircraft rests on concrete pylons and is suitably fenced away from the crowd. A plaquenear the nose of the Hunter gives a type history of the aircraft.There are no tell-tale remnants of the serial number – thus there is no particular way to tell which aircraft this is, but it certainly is a Mk.56a based on the shape of the tailpipe.

The cockpit appears to be completely stripped out with no ejection seat or gunsight in view. The canopy however has still retained its transparency despite its exposure to the elements over the years.

The cockpit appears stripped – no gunsight, no ejector seat.

All Photographs, unless specified otherwise, are copyright of Rahul Devnath

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