Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is all set to install a retired naval aircraft at Bandstand, people’s favourite hangout spot in Mumbai. The aircraft, Sea Harrier, last served on the aircraft carrier INS Viraat.
According to a report in a news daily, the officials have informed that the H West ward started the foundation work for the project earlier this month and is currently in the final stage.
According to a BMC official, the Harrier weighs 4,500 kilogrammes and will be installed on a 300 square metre island. The official also said that the Navy will help with the installation of the aircraft.
The final project will have “pathways for the public as well as seating arrangement with ambient lighting,” the official said.
The official also said that the area surrounding the installation will be beautified by the Municipality and visitors will be allowed to click pictures and selfies with the aircraft.
Asif Zakaria, Bandra corporator told the paper, “The foundation work is nearly complete. The aircraft will prove to be a huge attraction. It truly represents our armed forces.”
He had earlier said that the installation will be Bandra’s pride. “Every Republic Day, students march at Bandstand and we felt it would be the right location,” he had said.
After the INS Vikrant memorial at Lion gate in Fort, the Indian Navy wanted another memorial for INS Viraat in Mumbai. According to The Hindu, a Navy official had earlier said, “The aircraft will be a memorial to INS Viraat and the Indian Navy’s capabilities. Besides, civilians do not get to see these things easily, so the idea is to allow it in public.”
Before its decommissioning in March 2017, the Sea harrier used to fly from the INS Viraat deck in Mumbai.
At the time of its retirement, it was the longest-serving warship in the world. It belonged to the Royal Navy's HMS Hermes and was bought from the Royal Navy in 1986.