Garishly painted in Camo colors that covers even the perspex canopy is this Sukhoi-7U two seater type trainer U-1356 . This counts as a rare example as there are not too many two seater versions of the Su-7 on view in the country.
Tezpur has been the home of MiG-21s for over three decades. Currently it is base for the MIG Operational Flying Training Unit (MOFTU) which flies the MiG-21FL. Tezpur's history goes back more than four decades when it was activated as an airfield to help sustain the North eastern region. The airfield has seen Ouragans, Hunters , MiG-21s and MiG-27s operate from here besides different types of Transport aircraft. The parent formation here is 11 Wing, which comprised not only the two Squadrons of MOFTU, but also No.30 Squadron and a helicopter unit.
Tezpur has a Sukhoi-7U on display on the airfield and a new MiG-21U [U-3004] as a Gate Guardian. The Sukhoi-7U is a rare example as there are no known examples of two seater Sukhois being preserved elsewhere. However the condition of this particular aircraft is not so good. The aircraft has been hap hazardly painted in Camo colors with little care taken to give it the proper markings.
|MiG-21U U3004 is the gate guardian for Tezpur airfield. It proudly sports the badge of No.30 Squadron 'The Rhinos'.|
The MiG-21U at the gate appears to be one of the newer inducted aircraft from the early 90s. The reasons for it being retired are not known. The aircraft does not have nose wheel bay doors nor main wheel covers, these presumably being used as spares by the main force of MiGs that are still flying. The aircraft sports the 'Charging Rhinos' badge just behind the fuselage roundel.
|MiG-21FL||C599||Wings with the No.30 Sqn Museum.|
|MiG-21U||U3004||Gate Guardian at Tezpur's MOFTU|
|MiG-21U||CS117||Preserved in Tezpur Town|
|Sukhoi-7U||U1356||Displayed on Tezpur Base|
The recently disbanded No.30 Squadron is believed to have a pair of MiG-21FL wings in its museum's collection. These are from the aircraft bearing the serial number C-599. There is an aircraft junkyard in Tezpur where several aircraft wrecks have been dumped over the years. Clearly distinguishable among the wreckage is an An-32 Transport which is missing its engines and its entire nose fuselage and cockpit section. A derelict Mi-4 was also seen in the junkyard not so far away.
|Another MiG-21U can be found in a park in Tezpur. Its actual identity is a mystery as it sports a false serial CS-117.|
|CS-117 seen from the starboard side. Also note the BVS legend painted on the fuselage.|
The other MiG-21U at Tezpur is preserved in the Tezpur park. This aircraft also sports the badge of the Rhinos (No.30 Sqn), and sans any undercarraige bay doors. The serial number is a false one and a mystery at that. The number 'CS-117' does not appear to be in series or in connection with anything we know. The aircraft is also marked with the 'Indian Air Force' legend in english and in hindi on either side of the main fuselage.
All photos courtesy of Simon Watson / Wingman Aviation