Air Force Museum, the only one of its kind in India, houses a rich collection of memorablia of Indian Military Aviation and displays the history of Indian Air Force.
The Air Force Museum has an annexe and a hangar. The annexe houses some magnificent portraits of Wg Cdr (later Air Marshal) S Mukherjee, OBE, Sqn Ldr (later Air Commodore) Mehar Singh, MVC, DSO, Wg Cdr (later Air Marshal) AM Engineer, DFC and Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh, DFC. These dedicated officers were pioneers of the IAF. The Air Force Colour kept in the Museum was presented to IAF on 01 Apr 1954, by Dr. Rajendra Prasad.
The annexe is divided in three sections. The first section contains a photographic history of the Air Force from the early days in Risalpur (now in Pakistan) to the latest group photographs of the top echelons. Some models of aircraft in use in the Indian Air Force and in other countries are also on view. There are photographs of Lt (Hon G/C) HS Malik, Lt SG Welingker and Lt IL Roy who proved their mettle in the air encounters during Ist world war, when in the Royal flying Corps. Lt Roy accounted for nine enemy aeroplanes within eighteen days. He was the first Indian Officer to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross though posthumously.
The IInd Section, contains photographs of decorated Indian Officers of the IInd World War. These officers fearlessly shot enemy war machines and achieved their flying mission. Some small arms, i.e. revolvers, pistols etc. seized from Pakistan during operations in 1966 and 1971 and ceremonial swords presented to former Chief of the Air Staff are displayed. In the center, old uniforms of Hawai Sepoys and Air Force Officers of 1930s are on display. On the right wall among other photographs is a photograph of Wg Cdr KK Majumdar, the only Indian officer who was awarded Distinguished Flying Cross twice.
The last section contains information on the important facets of modern aviation history. The photographs, mementoes and models of the Indo-Soviet Joint Manned Spaceship-Siyuz T-11 are on display. This spaceship manned by Sqn Ldr Rakesh Sharma of the Indian Air Force, Yurie Malyshev and Gennadi Strekalov, lifted off on 3rd April 1983 and returned to the earth on 11th April 1983.
TOUR OF MUSEUM
The Museum reflects the very best of what the Indian Air Force has stood for in War and Peace. Its compilation is, in itself, a lasting tribute to hundreds of people who have each in their own way contributed to build a glorious tradition. It is befitting for a fighting service like the Indian Air Force to have a sense of history and tradition and the museum is a temple where memories of our glory are enshrined.
The most remarkable site of this Museum is a wall in one of it's sections. It has Roll of Honour in golden letters, of officers and men who made supreme sacrifice by laying down their lives in Kashmir Operation in 1947, Chinese Aggression 1962, Indo-Pak conflicts 1965 and 1971. Their names liveth forever more.
On display is another important historical photograph wherein Lieutenant General Niazi of Pakistan Army is seen signing surrender document of Indo-Pak war 1971 with General Jagjit Singh Arora. On both the side walls are photographs and painting showing Hunter and Gnat aircraft hitting, smashing and setting ablaze enemy targets during Indo-Pak conflicts.
In the Hangar, we have a full size United states Appollo Lunar Module which carried American Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin to moon's surface on 21 July, 1969.
The hangar houses 15 different types of military aircraft that have formed the backbone of Air Force since its inception on 8th October, 1932. Among them is Westland, the first plane to fly through the Khyber pass in 1929. Westland Lysander (Lizzic), Hawker Hurricane, Hawker Tempest and Vickers Spitfire played havoc during World War II, particularly during the Battle of Britain against awesome and arrogant German war machine. The French Toofani (Ouragon), the British Vampire, the first jet acquisition of the IAF and Valiant little Gnat assembled in India and fondly named as 'sabre-Killer' for its ravages on the more sophisticated US planes in Indo-Pak conflicts are deservedly displayed. Also an display is named `OHKA', a Japanese Kamikaze Glider capsule which the Japanese pilots filled with explosives and plunged into the battle ships, sinking 34 and damaging 228, including the famous 'Repulse' and the 'Prince of Wales' during IInd World War. The Russian IL-14 named Meghdoot by our Late Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru and Douglas Dakota (USA) termed as `Immortal Dak�, also occupy place of honour here. The French Mystere and the Hawker Hunter known as Thunder-Bolts that broke the enemy's back in 1965 and 1971 conflicts are also on display.
Beside rockets and bombs, is a towering statue of Flying Officer Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon, the first the the only Air Force pilot to be awarded Param Vir Chakra for sublime heroism, supreme gallantry and flying skill, which he displayed by shooting down two enemy sabers.
Outside the hangar, there is a tail unit of a Russian SU-7 aircraft which was flown back in crippled condition by Wing Commander Mangat during 1971 operation, a testimony of the indomitable spirit of the pilot. Next to this tail unit, is positioned a glittering B-24 Liberator - the bomber of the IInd World War and the MI-4 Helicopter, 'The Work Horse' which served the Air Force for 21 years before being phased out in September 1981. Another aircraft - the first Indian made fighter at HAL Bangalore - the Marut (HF-24) catches every visitor's attention. The American Helicopter S-55, designed by Iegendary Igor Sikorsky, the boy whose mother narrated to him aviation stories instead of fairy tales is also displayed in the open. A little further in the aircraft pen are two captured T-59 tanks and a few remnants of the Pakistani Sabre aircraft destroyed by Indian pilots during 1965 conflict. The model displays the SOYUZ - launch vehicle. The rocket by itself is 49m in length and is subdivided into three stages. The first stage consists of four boosters. 19m in length, each developing 102 tonnes of thrust. The second stage which is 28m long, develops 96 tonnes of thrust. The final stage, which is 8m long, develops 30 tonnes of thrust. At launch, both the first and the second stage start up simultaneously and lift the 300 tonnes rocket, which uses a mixture of oxygen and kerosene as fuel. The Soyuz spaceship, manned by Squadron Leader Rakesh Sharma of the Indian Air Force, Colonel Yurie Malysheu and Gennadi Strekalor of the USSR, lifted off on 03 Apr 84 and returned to earth on 11 Apr 1984.
GUIDE MAP AF MUSEUM
THERE ARE PLANS TO EXPAND AND RESHAPE THE PRESENT SET UP. ADDITIONAL BUILDINGS HAVE BEEN DESIGNED AND SOON, MORE AIRCRAFT AND EXHIBITS WILL BE INCLUDED. WE LOOK FORWARD TO RECEIVING HELP FROM ANY INDIVIDUAL OR ORGANIZATION WHICH CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THE MUSEUM AND MAKE IT MORE EDUCATIVE AND ATTRACTIVE.
The Museum is situated next to Technical Area Gate of Air Force Station Palam, half an hrs drive from IGI airport (Delhi) which is connected to all major cities in India and world by Air
BY RAIL/ROAD :
Forty five minutes' drive by Taxi/Auto from New Delhi railway Station or Inter State Bus Terminus connected to all major cities in India.
Address -AIR FORCE MUSEUM, PALAM, NEW DELHI-10.
Tele ~ 91 - 11 - 25687194 , Extn: 6084, 6033
91 - 9654692950
Open On - WEDNESDAY TO SUNDAY FROM 1000 AM TO 1700 PM
Closed On - MONDAY, TUESDAY AND GOVERNMENT HOLIDAYS.
Entry - FREE