23 Nov : The Indian Air Force (IAF) is working on a project to resurrect a squadron of its vintage aircraft to showcase its journey down the years.Under the programme, the IAF is planning to form a squadron comprising of one aircraft each from its past inventory, making it one of the few select air forces in the world to do so.
"We are planning to include most of the aircraft from our vintage strike force. These include the Hurricane, Wapiti, Spitfire, Ajeet, HF-24 ‘Marut’, Tigermoth and Hunter aircraft," a senior IAF officer told in New Delhi on Sunday.
With a flying squadron of vintage aircraft, the IAF wants to be among the select air forces, who still fly and maintain their old aircraft."If this project succeeds, we will be among the elite air forces who still have their vintage aircraft serviceable," he said.
IAF has divided the programme into several phases and it will work on two aircraft in each phase."We are not working on all the aircraft in one go. We will get two aircraft ready in every phase. All the phases will be completed sequentially," the officer said.
IAF’s immediate goal in the project is to put two of these aircraft on static display at the biennial Aero India in February next year so that people can get a glimpse of its past during the air show.
"At Aero India, people get to see a lot IAF’s current and probable future aircraft flying over the Bangalore skies. We want people to see what we were flying in the past and see our journey from then to now," the IAF officer said.
After displaying the aircraft on the ground, the IAF wants to show them flying too, but it will have to wait for the next Air Force Day parade on 8th October at Hindan airbase near Delhi.
"We are hoping that we would be able to fly two of these resurrected aircraft at our parade in Hindan next year," the officer added.At the moment, the only place where one can see these vintage aircraft, the IAF’s strike force of yesteryears, is at its museum at Palam Air Station in Delhi.
The IAF is using a few of the aircraft already on display at the museum for the resurrection project."We are using some of the aircraft for the project from the museum and the rest would be brought from airbases where these are on public display," he said.
To work on the project, the IAF is holding talks with the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) of these aircraft to see if they can help turn these old warhorses touch the sky again.
"We are talking to the OEMs for whatever help they can provide. We are also in touch with companies, who have earlier helped foreign air forces in resurrecting their older fleets," the officer said.
In this regard, representative of a British Company visited Air Headquarters to discuss the Indian project, and to suggest ways the idea could be turned into reality.
"We held talks with the company, which promised help in resurrecting our aircraft," the officer added.