October 7, 2022

Kalaikunda was the last operating base of the Hawker Hunters - being home to the Target Tug Unit.

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The Banners operated the following aircraft till their retirement on Oct 8th, 2001. Hunter T66 S-571 was the last Hunter to fly on that day at the Palam Air base.Scattered around the airfield are another half A-dozen or so Hunter airframes which are awaiting disposal. some have been marked for shipment to various establishments, but some are still lying around.

At No.18 Squadron’s hangar is another Hunter displayed on a rectangular platform. The aircraft appears to be one of the original F.56s which did not have the distinctive brake parachute housing on the tailpipe. But the aircraft’s identity has been given as A-968 which did not fit in.

Click to Enlarge This Hunter was first reported as A-968 is on display outside the No.18 Squadron Hangar. However the tailpipe of the Hunter gives credence to the fact that this Hunter was a BA numbered series aircraft than an A series aircraft
Confirmation on the same came with this older photograph of the Hunter clearly showing its serial as BA-207. It is a pity that the original camoflage scheme has been replaced by the dull grey. Photo Courtesy: Polly Singh Click to Enlarge

The Hunter at the hangar of No.18 looks in quite good condition and is painted as usual in gray color. The aircraft has its ejection seat, and other panels intact and in place. Unlike the gate guardian outside, this aircraft does not carry any droptanks under its wings.

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The same Hunter seen in 2005, during exercise Cope India 2006. Photo Courtesy: Sanjay Simha

The doubts regarding the actual identity of the Hunter was solved only recently when Mr. Polly Singh sent us a photograph of the Hunter in its previous scheme. This confirmed the original identity of the aircraft as BA-207 , an original F.56. The aircraft had drop tanks under its wings, which are missing now.

The list of Hunters operated by No.2 TTF is as follows.

Hawker Hunter F 56a A-465 No. 2 Target Tug Flight
Hawker Hunter F 56a A-467 No. 2 Target Tug Flight
Hawker Hunter F 56a A-476 No. 2 Target Tug Flight
Hawker Hunter F 56a A-483 No. 2 Target Tug Flight
Hawker Hunter F 56a A-484 No. 2 Target Tug Flight
Hawker Hunter F 56a BA-312A No. 2 Target Tug Flight
Hawker Hunter T 66 S-571 No. 2 Target Tug Flight – Last Hunter to fly with IAF
Hawker Hunter T 66 S-573 No. 2 Target Tug Flight
Hawker Hunter BA-268A Withdrawn from use – Awaiting Disposal
Hawker Hunter A-463 Withdrawn from use – Awaiting Disposal
Hawker Hunter A-473 Withdrawn from use – Awaiting Disposal
Hawker Hunter T 66 S-1389 Withdrawn from use – Awaiting Disposal

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