The Hindustan Aeronautics HF-24 Marut (Sanskrit: मरुत्, for "Spirit of the Tempest") was an Indianfighter-bomberaircraft of the 1960s. It was India's first jet aircraft, first flying on 17 June 1961. The wooden mock-up of the aircraft was flyable as an air-launched glider.
Marut was designed by the well-known German aircraft designer Kurt Tank and Indian engineers from Hindustan Aircraft Limited (now HAL Bangalore). A total of 147 aircraft were built, including 18 two-seat trainers. The basic design was developed by Kurt Tank's team during Tank's days developing jet aircraft in Argentina, which was to be designated IA 43 Pulqui III, as a follow on for the Pulqui II. Tank departed Argentina for India carrying the Marut's concept with him. Although originally conceived to operate in the vicinity of Mach 2, the aircraft in fact turned out to be barely capable of reaching Mach 1 due to the lack of suitably powered engines for the airframe. After the Indian Government conducted its first nuclear tests at Pokhran, international pressure prevented the import of better engines, or at times, even spares for the Orpheus engines. This would be one of the main reasons for this aircraft's early demise. It never realised its full potential due to insufficient power.
It was used in combat in the ground attack role, where its safety features such as manual controls whenever the hydraulic systems failed and twin engines increased survivability. All Maruts were retired from IAF service in 1990.
Given the limited number of Marut units, most Marut squadrons were considerably over-strength for the duration of their lives. According to Brian de Magray, at peak strength No.10 Squadron had on charge 32 Maruts, although the squadron probably did not hold a unit-establishment of more than 16. The Marut squadrons participated in the 1971 war and none was lost in air-to-air combat, although four were lost to ground fire and two were destroyed on the ground. Three Marut pilots were awarded the Vir Chakra commendation.
A retired model is parked outside the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum in Bangalore. Another one is parked inside the HAL's museum in Bangalore. A mock up of the HF 24 Marut can be seen in Kamla Nehru Park in the city of Pune, India.