MiG-23BN SM273 can be seen at the National War Memorial in Pune since December 2009. It was one of the last flyable MiG-23BNs of No.221 Squadron before phasing out in March 2009
|MiG-23BN SM273 is a veteran of No.221 Squadron, and is said to be the last MiG-23BN flown, on the day of the phasing out.
The National War Museum is a result of public’s initiative to set up some museums in fond memory of the Indian soldiers who laid down their lives for the nation. The citizens of Pune, under the Express Citizens’ Forum established the War Memorial Fund. Then the foundation of the National War Museum was laid in November 1977 and finally opened for the public in October 1998. The museum is located at Pune Cantonment which is near the Pune Railway station. You can hire an auto from the railway station.
|Various views of the MiG-23 at the National War Memorial Museum in Pune
In December 2009, A MiG-23BN, tail number SM273 was erected in the Memorial park, about nine months after their formal retirement from IAF service. The Aircraft SM273 is believed to be the last MiG-23BN to have been flown, clocked 2145.33 Hours till date. As a matter of interest, MiG-23BNs clocked a total of about 154,000 hours totally.
|Various shots of the undercarraige bay show it is in fine condition.
SM273 was one of the eight MiG-23BNs that No.221 Squadron was still operating when UK Aviation Photographer Simon Watson visited them in late 2008. Simon has several shots of SM273 featured in his album hosted on the Bharat Rakshak Website. The aircraft had a squadron badge painted at that time.
However by the time it was installed in Pune, SM273 has been painted over, and even the tail number on the tail retains just the digits and not the alphabets.
The photographs on this page are by Chetan Chopade, who has another set of photographs of the aircraft comparing it with how it looked in service.