India's oldest operational military aircraft 'Pushpak', which was extensively used in the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pakistan Wars, on Tuesday landed at the airbase here enroute its cross-country air expedition.
"It is now one of the only Pushpak aircraft which is still flying in the country and have landed up here as part of cross-country air-expedition," chief of expedition team, Brig A S Saidhu told reporters here at the IAF station here.
"Pushpak was actively flown by the pilots in 1965 and 1971 wars while manning the Air Observation Posts (AOPs) along the Indo-Pak border," Brig Saidhu, also the senior most test pilot of Army Aviation, said.
As part of the silver jubilee celebrations of Army Aviation, a Pushpak expedition was flagged-off during the ongoing Aero India 2011 show in Bangalore.
"It is one of the rare spectacle to see this aircraft landing and taking off from here. It is a lifetime opportunity to see this aircraft flying even today," officiating defence spokesman (Jammu), S N Acharya said.
"I have seen this in my book. But I am very happy to see the aircraft flying. I was not even born then when it used to fly during the wars," Sangeeta, a school student who watched the plane land, said.
The aircraft, which left for Pathankot, would now visit various cities and towns before concluding its sojourn at Nashik on March 13.
The aircraft was mustered from Patiala Flying Club and reconstructed with the assistance of Punjab government and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
It is the only Pushpak aircraft which is still in flying condition in the country, he said.
During the 30-day-long expedition, the two-seater aircraft will cover over 11,000 km flying to the erstwhile AOPs and the present army aviation bases.
Brigadier Saidhu said Army aviation has progressed in the last 25 years and performed outstandingly in various operations.
The Army Aviation Corps, which will celebrate 25 years of service on November 1, were equipped with Auster, Krishak and Pushpak aircrafts before they switched to helicopters in 1968.