HAL HF-24 Marut

The Hindustan Aeronautics HF-24 Marut ("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.


HAL HF-24 Marut
Class Aircraft
Type Fighter
Manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics
Origin India
Country Name Origin Year
India 1961
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
India 1961 1985 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Hindustan Aeronautics 147 View

The Marut was designed by the well-known 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 would be one of the main reasons for this aircraft's early demise. It never realised its full potential due to insufficient power.

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.

In 1967, one Marut was used as a testbed for the Egyptian Brandner E-300 engine.

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. 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 survibility record in enemy's fortified 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) showing its mettle in dog fight as the aircraft was primarily conceived as ground attack fighter.

Role Fighter-bomber
Manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics
Designer Kurt Tank
First flight 17 June 1961
Retired 1985
Primary user Indian Air Force
Number built 147


General characteristics

  • 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

Performance

  • 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[citation needed] (45,100 ft)

Armament

  • 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

End notes