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Old 11th July 2020, 11:50   #1216
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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A scrapped and auctioned Mig 21 is busy attracting footfalls for a Dhaba in the NCR region now
Well, atleast it will be maintained(respected) much better than other such retired jets some of whom have been left to rot ane be vandalized in parks, colleges, roundabouts etc with no maintenance whatsoever!!!

It is truly shameful that a country that has had such a rich history of operating various types of combat aircraft does not know how to take care of its aviation history.
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Old 11th July 2020, 14:36   #1217
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

Is India in a position to be able to recall any mothballed fighters in case of emergency? And BTW what happened to the Apache which almost crash landed in a paddy field some months ago? Is it repaired and functional now or become scrap?
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Old 11th July 2020, 14:52   #1218
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And BTW what happened to the Apache which almost crash landed in a paddy field some months ago? Is it repaired and functional now or become scrap?
It made a safe landing as far as I recall. Second, short of being shot down or crashing into a mountain side in very bad weather a helicopter normally does not crash like an aircraft. Even if its engines fail a helicopter can be glided down through auto rotation of the blades provided it is above a certain altitude and above a certain speed. This combination of altitude and speed is charted and known as the dead man's curve or more technically the HV curve {height velocity}.Even for a large helicopter, seen in knots, these speeds on the dead man's curve are only in double digits and once you get as high as 700 to 800 feet a single digit figure.
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Old 12th July 2020, 00:21   #1219
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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It is truly shameful that a country that has had such a rich history of operating various types of combat aircraft does not know how to take care of its aviation history.
+1. Gut wrenching to see the poorly maintained pieces wherever they are placed. In many cases, their strip down appears as if done at a local stove repair shop. Horrible finish and patchwork everywhere. And further painful that there is no simple process to get the planes gracefully stripped of vital avionics & maintain them at good points around the country as motivations, icons & respect to history. For a country as large and populous as ours - the opportunities and needs are endless! So many different types like you said - have simply gone missing without a trace. When they could have been maintained.

Not just aviation, naval too. Vikrant went away. A distinguished carrier like the Hermes/Viraat is going the same way by the looks of it thanks to the apathy by those who sign official paperwork sadly. Unique planes like the Tu142, ships like the Hermes that was one of the last carriers built in WW2, which saw a LOT of type conversions and role reassignments & a really illustrious service. If we can't maintain historically significant items even 50 years old - we shouldn't be talking about the glorious days of the ages of empires and smoke of gold. All appears fake instantly!

Last edited by Reinhard : 12th July 2020 at 00:22.
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Old 12th July 2020, 09:03   #1220
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

Does the IAF have any mothballed fighters which can be used again if necessary? Are all retired aircraft immediately disposed off?
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Old 12th July 2020, 11:00   #1221
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Is India in a position to be able to recall any mothballed fighters in case of emergency?
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Does the IAF have any mothballed fighters which can be used again if necessary? Are all retired aircraft immediately disposed off?
Maintaining mothballed fleets of ships & fighter planes for reactivation is a luxury only the rich service arms can afford. The USA, Russian federation are two such examples. Not many more.

IAF retires planes after multiple decades of usage and generally only when the airframes are no longer serviceable for life extensions. Thanks to the terribly low squadron strength, the force is already having to make do with repeated updates on existing planes just to maintain a minimum fighting force at least. Those that are retired - are already technologically outdated, nonviable to maintain & structurally well beyond their prime to provide any assurance. So to answer your question - no, there are no such fighters. Certainly not in any significant numbers.
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Old 12th July 2020, 11:28   #1222
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Well, atleast it will be maintained(respected) much better than other such retired jets some of whom have been left to rot ane be vandalized in parks, colleges, roundabouts etc with no maintenance whatsoever!!!

It is truly shameful that a country that has had such a rich history of operating various types of combat aircraft does not know how to take care of its aviation history.
Old, scrap worthy tanks, aircraft etc are allotted to local Govts, municipalities and other public and private organisations based on requests received from them by MoD/Service Hqs. Responsibility of upkeep and maintenance lies with the organisation which has received such articles.

Such requests are generally received when the patriotic fervour is high, I have two places close to my home where a captured Patton tank along with statue of Major Bhupinder Singh MVC and a Gnat along with statue of Fg Offr Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon PVC are kept. These were placed after 1965 and 1971 wars respectively as they belonged to this area. Over the years people have forgotten their deeds of bravery and generations have changed and moved on. Even though responsibility of their upkeep lies with local bodies, every year we have to get teams from local AF Station and Army Brigade to clean and paint the articles.

Articles which have been received by colleges or other private organisations are generally better kept.
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Old 12th July 2020, 11:58   #1223
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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It is truly shameful that a country that has had such a rich history of operating various types of combat aircraft does not know how to take care of its aviation history.
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Originally Posted by Reinhard View Post
+1. Gut wrenching to see the poorly maintained pieces wherever they are placed. In many cases, their strip down appears as if done at a local stove repair shop. Horrible finish and patchwork everywhere. And further painful that there is no simple process to get the planes gracefully stripped of vital avionics & maintain them at good points around the country as motivations, icons & respect to history. For a country as large and populous as ours - the opportunities and needs are endless! So many different types like you said - have simply gone missing without a trace. When they could have been maintained.
I think we should be realistic in our approach in preserving aircraft specially in a country where there are millions living below the poverty line. Not every aircraft can be preserved and that too in perfect conditions. Not everyone of the Mig-21s that were retired have to be saved.

The US has the most money and huge amounts of aviation heritage compared to India. Please look at the condition of the outdoor display aircraft in one of the biggest military aviation museums in the North Eastern US.

Rusting aircraft, broken windows fixed with duct tape ! There were many other aircraft in worse condition but they were in such a pathetic I didn't bother to photograph them.
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Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-screenshot-20200712-11.52.16-am.png


I had visited this museum in my childhood in the 1980s and the outdoor display aircraft were in even worse condition so much that you were not allowed to go near them.

On the internet you can find 100s of USAF Vietnam war aircraft that ended up like this:
Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force-5b9dc64150af1.image.jpg

One my favourites, a F-14 Tomcat.
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Last edited by Foxbat : 12th July 2020 at 12:15.
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Old 12th July 2020, 13:02   #1224
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

The cost of maintaining the hull of a typical military aircraft with say a length of 15 metres and wing area of say 30 m2 is in the ball park range of $50,000 per year. This assumes it is exposed to the elements 365 days a year. Many years ago I spotted a DC-3 at a civilian institute. From the tail number I recognized it as a DC-3 with a certain historical significance and offered the host organization that my crew will restore that aircraft to its original glory provided we split the cost 50:50. The cost of that restoration was to be Rs 28 lakhs but the organization was not willing to cough up even Rs 14 lakhs and that was that.
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Old 12th July 2020, 13:05   #1225
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

Amazing thread Smartcat. Surprised that I missed this thread for so long. Great effort there.
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Old 12th July 2020, 13:36   #1226
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Not every aircraft can be preserved and that too in perfect conditions. Not everyone of the Mig-21s that were retired have to be saved.
Right. If the air force has a museum and if one or two pieces from each retired type are maintained there in pristine condition, it is enough. There is a Vijayanta tank in front of the OTA in Chennai which is maintained well. But if some college acquires an old tank and parks it in their premises, we can't expect it to be maintained with the same fervor. I have seen a Mig 21 in my son's institute at Trichy. It is in Ok condition, and I am being generous.

Also, when people realize it is only a shell with nothing inside, they lose interest.
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Old 12th July 2020, 16:53   #1227
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

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Maintaining mothballed fleets of ships & fighter planes for reactivation is a luxury only the rich service arms can afford. The USA, Russian federation are two such examples. Not many more.
A great example of when and how a fighting arm will choose to keep a certain platform mothballed is the first stealth jet, the F-117 Nighthawk. So they've been officially retired for a number of years now but noticeably the USAF hadn't scrapped all of the airframes. Instead they were kept mothballed and basically that requires a lot of work as others have said, you need to not only keep it clean but regularly check to see all the systems are functional. Which is why it's no surprise in the last year or so the F-117 has been seen flying again above Tonopah test range. Why you ask? Well the USAF sensibly realised that the airframes can still be useful for testing (test new radar systems against it as one example), as stealth adversary aircraft even.

Another example was how during the Reagan administration, he revived the mothballed Iowa class battleships and added VLS cells amongst other things and ended up being used in the Gulf War. So for sure you'll see the occasional platform mothballed with the intention of future utility of some sort. For the most part it's too expensive to do. In the first case, the Nighthawk still has relevance in that it has low observability that proves handy for a lot of experimental work, it can be a stand in for opposition stealth platforms for the USAF to train against. The battleships were mothballed because they're such an evocative thing for the Americans, you still see people clamouring for them even though their day has long been done.

The Russians have a laissez faire attitude to their mothballing to put it politely, but befitting kit that often would've been used by some conscript plucked from a remote farm or some such, their kit usually handles the stepchild treatment in storage better than can be expected.

I will say though that having a central museum where certain distinct and noteworthy platforms in the Indian context, should be preserved for historical purposes. However there are always more pressing needs and sadly a lot of the time it doesn't come to pass. Which is a shame from a sentimental point of view, less so if being totally pragmatic - and ultimately isn't the latter the desirable quality in the forces?
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Old 13th July 2020, 12:08   #1228
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The US has the most money and huge amounts of aviation heritage compared to India. Please look at the condition of the outdoor display aircraft in one of the biggest military aviation museums in the North Eastern US.
Is this the New England Air Museum in Connecticut? I've been there and 2 of the pictures you've posted look familiar.
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Old 13th July 2020, 12:53   #1229
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Default Re: Combat Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

While my post isn't regarding a Indian fighter plane but its about a German fighter plane from WW II: Messerschmitt Bf-109 fighter
The college where i did my engineering from had this fighter plane lying in the mechanical engineering lab area catching dust and rust. we never knew its history nor was anything mentioned about it any where in the college.

In-fact the wings used to be our adda during the breaks between periods or during lunch hours!

I forgot about this plane once i completed my engineering but back in 2017 i read this news article mentioning a HC order against the college principal and the ex-president of the education society who had sold off this plane to an alleged collector in a hush hush deal in August 2002!

I learnt later that this plane was a gift from the British to the nizam of Hyderabad who in-turn presented the plane to the college for safe keeping in 1941.

The plane was never recovered and has now resurfaced in the UK! the cost of such antique planes is said to be upwards of USD 300000!

more details about this can be found here: http://archive.indianexpress.com/new...-------/15988/

I just hope they preserve the history for the next generation to learn from it
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Old 13th July 2020, 13:23   #1230
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Is this the New England Air Museum in Connecticut? I've been there and 2 of the pictures you've posted look familiar.
Wow! thats some memory you have! Yes it is the same museum.
I have zoomed in on the pictures to show the damage to the planes and still you were able to identify the museum.

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Originally Posted by ant_vas View Post
While my post isn't regarding a Indian fighter plane but its about a German fighter plane from WW II: Messerschmitt Bf-109 fighter
The college where i did my engineering from had this fighter plane lying in the mechanical engineering lab area catching dust and rust. we never knew its history nor was anything mentioned about it any where in the college.

more details about this can be found here: http://archive.indianexpress.com/new...-------/15988/

I just hope they preserve the history for the next generation to learn from it
Thats some story, looks like something straight of a mystery novel.
This line from the article seemed ironical to me "The single-seat fighter aircraft, gifted to the Nizam of Hyderabad by the British Empire in 1941 for sponsoring two RAF squadrons". Indians funded the British Empire to protect their freedom from the Germans while they ruled over us. This was at the same time Winston Churchill said Indians "breed like rabbits" and "have a beastly religion" and killed millions of Bengalis by diverting food from Bengal to Europe during the Bengal famine.

Last edited by Foxbat : 13th July 2020 at 13:26.
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