The Banners emblem and the faded camouflage paint is most prominent on the Hunter displayed outside at the Kalaikunda gate.
Pic Courtesy: Simon Watson

Kalaikunda has been throughout the early 90s been the home of the Hunters. A Hunter Operational Flying Training Unit (HOFTU) Operated here with aircraft belonging to No.20 "Lightnings" Squadron. With the disbandment of the HOFTU and No.20 requipping with the MiG-27s, most of the Hunters were passed on to the No.2 Target Tug Flight "The Banners". Which operated about eight Hunters till Oct 2001. Many of the other Hunters were disposed off to various locations around the country as Gate Guardians.

The same Hunter has now received a paint job in total gray, as can be seen in this picture of the aircraft, the front Nose wheel bay cover is also missing.Click to Enlarge

Even as late as 1997, there were a dozen Hunter airframes lying around that have been retired but not yet allocated. Quite naturally a couple of Hunters have come to be preserved at Kalaikunda itself.

There is an Hunter airframe at the Kalaikunda gate that is quite intact and well maintained. The aircraft's identity is now known ,but earlier it was painted in a camouflage scheme with the Banner's shield on the nose. Since then the aircraft has been painted completely in gray. The aircraft has its ejection seat in place, but the nosewheel bay cover is missing. Its displayed on a triangular shaped platform outside the gate.

Click to EnlargeThree views of the gate guardian Hunter and the platform on which it is displayed. The aircraft still retains its Ejection seat and its drop tanks.
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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 EnlargeThis 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 SinghClick 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 56aA-465No. 2 Target Tug Flight
Hawker Hunter F 56aA-467No. 2 Target Tug Flight
Hawker Hunter F 56aA-476No. 2 Target Tug Flight
Hawker Hunter F 56aA-483No. 2 Target Tug Flight
Hawker Hunter F 56aA-484No. 2 Target Tug Flight
Hawker Hunter F 56aBA-312ANo. 2 Target Tug Flight
Hawker Hunter T 66S-571No. 2 Target Tug Flight - Last Hunter to fly with IAF
Hawker Hunter T 66S-573No. 2 Target Tug Flight
Hawker HunterBA-268AWithdrawn from use - Awaiting Disposal
Hawker HunterA-463Withdrawn from use - Awaiting Disposal
Hawker HunterA-473Withdrawn from use - Awaiting Disposal
Hawker Hunter T 66S-1389Withdrawn from use - Awaiting Disposal

Additional information