September 30, 2022

Whats a Naval Helicopter doing here?

Westland Sea King [IN-504] from No.331 INAS ‘The Harpoons’ is preserved at the rear of the museum. The crew entrance door has since been locked shut.

Every museum has a surprise exhibit, The Indian Air Force Museum had the Yokosuka Okha, The Naval Museum had the frontline Sea Harrier, The Air Force Academy had the Tigermoth. The Sea King never had any connection with HAL, never having been upgraded or manufactured or overhauled with HAL. Hence the presence of IN-504 from the very first lot of Sea Kings acquired by the Indian Navy in 1970 is a surprise.

This view of the Sea King [IN-504] shows the excellent condition of this aircraft. The stenciling on the access panels and paint details can be seen on the aircraft. Click to Enlarge

IN-504 appeared on the display at almost about the same time two other Sea Kings were noticed on the Museum Ship Vikrant in Mumbai. Probably the first lot of Sea Kings have been on the verge of retirement, being more than 30 years old. The huge helicopter carries the markings of No.331 INAS , ‘The Harpoons’. The Seaking is on display at the back of the museum, in fact in a playground that is actually outside the premises of the museum. The aircraft is in fine condition and in the rare dark-blue livery of early naval helicopters, as opposed to the light sea-grey combination of current aircraft.

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