In the Midnapore District in the state of West Bengal, about 130 km from Calcutta is the Major Airbase of Kalaikunda. Established way back during the Second World War, this desolate village turned airstrip is now a major establishment on the IAF's Orbat.

Kalaikunda's most striking and unique warbird display is in front of the ATC Tower. Two Gnats E-232 and DJ-1992 are displayed vertically resting on their tail pipe and fin/elevators pointing straight up, with a small memorial in between. Pic © Simon Watson. Click to Enlarge

Ever since its reactivation in 1955, Kalaikunda had been home to Mystere Squadrons, Vampires, Hunters, Canberras, MiG-21s , Su-7s and now MiG-27s. Kalaikunda has a large number of warbirds on display, approximately seven preserved. A number of hunter airframes have been noticed lying derelict around the airbase. It is suspected that atleast one Sukhoi-7 airframe is lying around in the airbase. In the late 70s, one Spitfire airframe which was lying as a decoy was recovered and auctioned off to the UK Collectors.

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One of the many scattered airframes on the airfield premises is this derelict Hunter airframe in faded Thunderbolts scheme of the No.20 Squadron. (Pic © Simon Watson)

The Kalaikunda airfield has a Diamond Jubilee Museum , where a rare DHC-3 Otter [IM 1057] finds place. Also on display in the Museum is a Hunter fighter. There are atleast three Gnats on display on the Airfield, two near the ATC building and another at one of the Hangars. An An-32 transport aircraft was noticed on display at the museum in 1997. However this aircraft was not found when checked out recently by Warbirds of India.

After the retirement of the MiG-25R's from Bareilly, one of the two remaining two seater examples - Aircraft DS362 was bought to Kalaikunda and put up for display near the main tarmac area. The aircraft has since been repainted Tipnis Grey and has lost all its original markings.

MiG-25U DS-362 two seater trainer is one of the two examples inducted. The aircraft is seen here during an Indo-Singaporean Exercise.

Aircraft TypeSerial NoRemarks
De Havilland DHC-3 Otter IM-1057 Diamond Jubilee Museum
Hawker Hunter ?? Diamond Jubilee Museum
HAL Gnat E-232 Near ATC, Kalaikunda
HAL Gnat II DJ-1992 Near ATC, Kalaikunda
HAL Gnat II E-1956 Outside 2 Sqn Hangar
Hawker Hunter A-968 Outside 18 Sqn Hangar
Hawker Hunter ?? Gate Guardian at Entrance
MiG-25U DS-362 Main Apron area
Hawker Hunter ?? Parade Grounds - Derelict
Antonov An-32 K-2688 Diamond Jubilee Museum (Possibly Scrapped?)
MiG-25U DS361 Hangar Area
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