India’s first MiG-23BN : SM201 at Science City , Kapurthala

A newspaper article helped me nail this airframe down.

Discovered that the Pushpa Gujral Science City in Kapurthala boasted a Defence Gallery containing a Vijayanta tank , Torpedoes , AA Gun , Rockets and a MiG-23 BN.This is the second BN in the district on display.

Little research on the net and identity was confirmed as SM201 : The First ‘Vijay’ of the IAF

Here we go …..

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The aircraft was manufactured on August 25th,1980 and inducted in the IAF in 1981-1982.Used in Op.Safed Sagar and Op. Brasstacks , with a total of 1542 hours.

Last flown by Flt Lt.Rahul Lilani on 5th Oct 2001 , operated by 220 Sqn , Halwara.

Science City received the aircraft in 2006.

It has been placed in a fenced enclosure at a junction of the road to the auditorium and main complex.

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Closeup of the Nose

No serial markings are present and have been painted over with coats of paint.Painted in Tipnis Grey the finflashes and roundels are intact however , the livery is a darker and bluish shade of Tipnis Grey.No attention seems to be paid to the aircraft after the authorities have placed it there other than the annual paintjob. Exhaust cover is present however Engine Intakes are without covers.

The whole airframe and enclosure are in a poorly maintained state , some places metal corrosion has created gaping holes in the skin.

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Layers and more layers

SM201 has been painted over and over , even without the removal of the previous layer , Was able to count FOUR layers of Berger 😛 

Construction Number and Identity

C/N plates are intact at their respective locations and are readable to a good extent.

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C/N : 7542

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There are 2 plates on the starboard MLG compartment and only once of them is readable .

 

The nose landing gear compartment is very clean from the inside and I was able to stand upright because of the depth of the compartment. The NLG c/n plate is on the rear bulkhead of the cockpit and is readable and confirms 7542 as the c/n.

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NLG C/N plate

There is a small step ladder placed beside the NLG. The step ladder helped me reach the cockpit , the cockpit glass is stained and all joints have rusted to glory .Not much can be seen from the outside , however on straining a little  , saw that the joystick and majority of the instruments are intact.

An identity confusion was created after seeing ‘SM-294’ painted on the pilot seat’s headrest , but chances are that the airframe is 201 with the seat which was once in SM294.

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Pilot seat headrest with SM-294 marking

 

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Note : The lower tailfin has been folded so that it doesn’t touch the ground

Jai Hind

 

 

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