Kalaikunda was the last operating base of the Hawker Hunters - being home to the Target Tug Unit.
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.
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.
|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 56a||A-465||No. 2 Target Tug Flight|
|Hawker Hunter F 56a||A-467||No. 2 Target Tug Flight|
|Hawker Hunter F 56a||A-476||No. 2 Target Tug Flight|
|Hawker Hunter F 56a||A-483||No. 2 Target Tug Flight|
|Hawker Hunter F 56a||A-484||No. 2 Target Tug Flight|
|Hawker Hunter F 56a||BA-312A||No. 2 Target Tug Flight|
|Hawker Hunter T 66||S-571||No. 2 Target Tug Flight – Last Hunter to fly with IAF|
|Hawker Hunter T 66||S-573||No. 2 Target Tug Flight|
|Hawker Hunter||BA-268A||Withdrawn from use – Awaiting Disposal|
|Hawker Hunter||A-463||Withdrawn from use – Awaiting Disposal|
|Hawker Hunter||A-473||Withdrawn from use – Awaiting Disposal|
|Hawker Hunter T 66||S-1389||Withdrawn from use – Awaiting Disposal|