Indian Air Force
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IAF started operations with the metal- structure Wapiti in 1933, and
used the same till 1942. Antiquated, and known derisively as
"What-a-pity." Flown by No. 1 Sqn. Possibly the
only surviving Wapiti.
Lysander Mk. II
Lysanders with a port-side ladder used to insert agents into occupied
France. In IAF service from 1941-43 in ground support role with
No. 1, 2, 4 Sqns. Note the doped panels over the landing lights on
Hurricane Mk. II
of the Spitfire, the Hurricane was also a legend from the Battle of
Britain. The Mk. II 'Hurribomber' was an improvement over the Mk.
I, intended for use in the ground attack role. In service with
RIAF Sqn. Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9 & 10 from 1942-45. Used
during the Akyab campaign in Burma. Prefix 'Royal' was bestowed
after this in March 1945, until name reverted back to IAF in Jan.
1950. Undercarriage doors removed here.
of the Typhoon, the sleek Tempest was one of the fastest day fighters of
its time. The Tempest was also used by the RAF to destroy V-1
flying bombs. In India, the Tempest equipped RIAF & IAF Sqn.
Nos. 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9 & 10 from 1946 to 1955, and was used in action
over Kashmir in 1947-48. Unlike other variants, Mk. IIs had no
the most sophisticated aircraft of World War II. Produced in large
numbers, and saw action in all theatres. In IAF service from 1948
to 1968. Flown by Sqns. 5 & 6
Spitfire Mk. XVIII
Mk. XVIII is a descendant of the legendary Mk. I from the Battle of
Britain. Possibly the most graceful fighter ever built with its
distinctive ellipctical wings. In IAF service from 1951 to
1957. Other Spitfire variants in IAF service included the Mk.
VIII, Mk. XIV and Mk. XIX from 1944 to 1959. Equipped Sqns.
1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 & 14.
Vampire NF Mk.54
IAF was the first air force in Asia to equip with jets. Vampires
were inducted in 1948 and stayed in service till 1975! The NF
model, in service from 1953-1966 with 10 Sqn., gave the IAF
night-interception capability for the first time. The Vampire FB.9
was also license built by HAL. Other IAF variants included the F
Mk.3, FB Mk.52 & T Mk.55.
IAF service from 1953 - 1967, the Ouragan or Toofani, as it was
popularly called, was used in the 1965 War. Flown by 3, 4, 8, 29
and 47 Sqns.
IAF service from 1957-1974, the Mystère was used in the 1965 War,
notably over Sargodha, and also in the 1971 War. Flown by 1,
3, 8, 31 and 32 Sqns.
Hunter F.56A 139KB
IAF service from 1957 to 1996 , the Hunter was used in the both 1965 and
1971 Wars. Victor of Longewala, where 4 Hunters destroyed a
Pakistani armoured regiment. Flown by OCU, 7, 14, 17, 20, 27 and
37 Sqns. Mount of the IAF aerobatic team 'Thunderbolts'.
IAF service from 1957 to date. Equipped Sqns. 5, 16 and
35. Used by the IAF in Congo, and in the '65 & '71 Wars.
Bombed the Karachi oil tanks, to cause 'the biggest blaze in South
Asia'. Used now for EW by 35 Sqn.
IAF service from 1964 to 1990. Designed by the legendary
Focke-Wulf designer Kurt Tank. Manufactured at HAL as India' s first
indigenous combat aircraft. Underpowered by
twin Orpheus engines. Served in the 1971 War with Sqns. 10 &
220. Upper gun port shown sealed here.
and rugged, the Su-7 was used in IAF service from 1968 to 1986.
Served with 26, 32, 101, 108, 221 & 222 Sqns. Performed most
of the ground-attack missions in the 1971 War, including the notable
Shorkot Raid, though suffered losses to AAA. Normally equipped
with drop tanks to enhance range.
IAF service from 1977 to 1992, the HAL Ajeet was an improvement of the
Gnat, in service from 1960-1980. The lightweight Gnat won
fame as a 'Sabre-killer' in 1965, and was also used in the 1971 War.
IAF service from 1963 to date. Equipped numerous IAF sqns.
in F, FL, MF, U & bis variants. Performed creditably against
PAF F-104 Starfighters in 1971. License-built by HAL.
hangar pix at the IAF Museum, Palam. A special thank you to Air
Marshal Tipnis, Chief of Air Staff, Air Cdre. HV Hariharan, AHQ,
Wg. Cdr. JSK Mahajan, Curator and all the
IAF airmen who assisted in Jan.