HAL HF-24 Marut
|First flight||17 June 1961|
|Primary user||Indian Air Force|
|Number built||147 |
The Hindustan Aeronautics HF-24 Marut (Sanskrit: मरुत्, for "Spirit of the Tempest") was an Indian fighter-bomber aircraft of the 1960s. It was India's first jet aircraft, took first flight on 17 June 1961.
Design and development
The Marut was designed by the German aircraft designer Kurt Tank and Indian engineers from Hindustan Aircraft Limited at 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 was one of the main reasons for this aircraft's early demise. It never realised its full potential due to insufficient power.
During the development phase, prior to production, HAL designed and built a full scale two-seat research glider, the HAL X-241 which replicated the production aircraft in dimensions, control configuration and aerofoil sections. The wheel-brakes, air-brakes, flaps and retractable undercarriage operated using compressed gas, with enough gas to operate them several times per flight.
Launched by aero-tow behind Douglas Dakota Mk.IV BJ 449, the X-241 flew for the first time on 3 April 1959, making 86 flights before being damaged in a landing accident when the nose undercarriage failed to extend.
The Marut 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.
Maruts constantly found themselves under heavy and concentrated fire from the ground during their low-level attack missions. On at least three occasions, Maruts regained their base after one engine had been lost to ground fire. On one of these, a Marut returned to base without escort on one engine, from about 150 miles (240 km) inside hostile territory. On another occasion, a pilot flying his Marut through debris that erupted into the air as he strafed a convoy felt a heavy blow in the rear fuselage of the aircraft, the engine damage warning lights immediately glowing and one engine cutting out. Fortunately, the Marut attained a safe and reasonable recovery speed on one engine. Consequently, the pilot had no difficulty in flying his crippled fighter back to base. Another safety factor was the automatic reversion to manual control in the event of a failure in the hydraulic flying control system, and there were several instances of Maruts being flown back from a sortie manually. The Marut had good survivability record in enemy airspace.
In the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, some Maruts and Hawker Hunter aircraft were used to give close support to an Indian border post in the decisive Battle of Longewala, on the morning of 5 December 1971.
One aerial kill recorded by Marut flown by Sqn Ldr KK Bakshi of 220 Squadron shot down a PAF F-86 Sabre on 7 Dec 71 (Flg Offr Hamid Khwaja of 15 Squadron PAF).
- HAL X-241
- A full scale research glider replicating the proposed production aircraft, with identical dimensions, control configuration and aerofoil sections.
- Marut Mk.1
- Single-seat ground-attack fighter.
- Marut Mk.1A
- The third pre-production aircraft fitted with an afterburning Bristol Siddeley Orpheus 703 with 18% boost at 5,720 lbf (25.44 kN) thrust.
- Marut Mk.1 BX
- A single Mk.1 converted as a flying test-bed for the Brandner E-300 turbojet engine.
- Marut Mk.1T
- Two-seat training version.
- Marut Mk.1R
- Two HF-24s fitted with two afterburning Bristol Siddeley Orpheus 703s with 18% boost at 5,720 lbf (25.44 kN) thrust.
- Marut Mk.2
- A projected Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Adour powered derivative.
- Indian Air Force
Data from: There are several surviving Maruts open to public inspection:
- Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum, Bangalore.
- HAL museum! Bangalore
- Kamla Nehru Park, Pune.
- Nehru Science Centre Mumbai.
- Periyar Science and Technology Centre, Chennai
- ASTE (Aircraft & Systems Testing Establishment), Bangalore
- Air Force Academy, Dundigul
- Deutsches Museum Flugwerft Schleissheim
- Indian Air Force Museum, Palam
- Museum für Luftfahrt und Technik Wernigerode, Germany
Specifications (Marut Mk.1)
Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1976-77 
- Crew: 1
- Length: 15.87 m (52 ft 0¾ in)
- Wingspan: 9.00 m (29 ft 6¼ in)
- Height: 3.60 m (11 ft 9¾ in)
- Wing area: 28.0 m² (301 ft²)
- Empty weight: 6,195 kg (13,658 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 10,908 kg (24,048 lb)
- Powerplant: 2 × Bristol Siddeley Orpheus Mk 703 turbojet, 21.6 kN (4,850 lbf) each
- Maximum speed: 1,112 km/h (600 kn, 691 mph) at sea level
- Stall speed: 248 km/h (133 knots, 154 mph) (flaps and landing gear down)
- Combat radius: 396 km  (214 nmi, 246 mi)
- Service ceiling: 13,750 m (45,100 ft)
- Guns: 4× 30 mm (1.18 in) ADEN cannon with 120 rpg
- Rockets: Retractable Matra pack of 50× 2.68 in (68 mm) rockets
- Bombs: Up to 4,000 lb (1,800 kg) on four wing pylons
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Related lists
- Donald 1997, p.523.
- "HF-24 Marut". Federation of American Scientists.
- Bhargava, Kapil, Gp.Capt. (retd.). "The HF-24 Marut's Glider Prototype". bharat-rakshak.com. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
- Taylor 1969, p. 671.
- "Marut", India, Global Security.
- "Marut", IAF, Bharat Rakshak.
- p. 100, Nordeen
- "Polly Marut", IAF, Bharat Rakshak
- CHATTERJEE, K. "HINDUSTAN FIGHTER HF-24 MARUT PART I: BUILDING INDIA'S JET FIGHTER". www.bharat-rakshak.com. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
- Bharat-Rakshak.com, HINDUSTAN FIGHTER HF-24 MARUT, accessed July 2009
- "Maruts on Display – Sublime to the Ridiculous". marutfans.wordpress.com. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
- Taylor 1976, pp. 79—80.
- "Maruta: India's Hindustan HF-24 Joins the IAF". Flight International, 2 July 1964, Vol. 86, No. 2886. pp. 16–17.
- Donald, David (editor). The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. London:Aerospace, 1997. ISBN 1-85605-375-X.
- Taylor, John W. R. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1969–70. London:Jane's Yearbooks, 1969.
- Taylor, John W.R. (editor). Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1976–77. London:Jane's Yearbooks, 1976, ISBN 0-354-00538-3.
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