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1947 to Balakot, India’s first Air Force Heritage Centre showcases IAF’s firepower

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at the inauguration of India's first Air Force Heritage Centre in Chandigarh on Monday (All images courtesy: Ministry of Defence)

India’s first Air Force Heritage Centre showcasing the rich heritage of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and inspiring young minds to join the Armed Forces was inaugurated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in Chandigarh on Monday.  

Through various murals and memorabilia, the centre depicts IAF’s role in various conflicts, including the Kashmir campaign in 1947-48 and the 1965, 1971 and Kargil wars besides the Balakot air strike destroying the terror infrastructure across the border in 2019.

Besides the combat capabilities, it also spotlights the vital role played by the IAF in various humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.

iaf museum chandigarh

“This centre is a testament to the courage and dedication of all those who have served in the IAF and a reminder of their invaluable contributions in protecting the nation. It will be a big attraction not only for the people of Chandigarh but also for the people living in other states,” said Singh during the inauguration ceremony.

The Heritage Centre dream project was visualised by Chandigarh Administration, Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Banwari Lal Purohit and Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Chief of the Air Staff last year.

In April, Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari reviewed the progress of the project before the planned inauguration by the Defence Minister.

It also houses various vintage aircraft, including GNAT, MiG-21, MiG-23, HPT-32 & Air Force Kanpur-l – the rare single-engined machine that was designed and built by late Air Vice Marshal Harjinder Singh in 1958 and was gifted to the Punjab Engineering College (PEC) Chandigarh in 1967.

vintage aircraft

Defence Minister Singh hoped on Monday that the future generations will develop a strong bond with the Indian aviation heritage and understand the significance of self-reliance, innovation and the dream of ‘Make in India’ after visiting the venue.

Spread over 17,000 square feet in Chandigarh’s Sector 18, the Heritage Centre has artefacts, simulators and interactive boards to highlight various facets of IAF.

The IAF and Chandigarh Administration believe that it will go a long way in motivating and inspiring the youth of the region in making a career in the armed forces.