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HAL HF-24 Marut All-Weather Multi-Role Aircraft (1962)

Authored By Staff Writer

The HF-24 Marut represented the first Indian-produced jet fighter.

The Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd HF-24 Marut was the first Indian attempt at an indigenous aircraft design since separating from British rule. The Marut - or "Spirit of the Tempest" - was the first design that was produced for the Indian Air Staff in the 1950's, was expensive to develop and proved only a marginal success which saw limited production numbers.

With years removed since the end of World War Two and ultimately gaining their own independence from the British crown, the India and the Indian Air Staff set to work on a jet fighter project that would allow the nation a new form of independence - defense products designed and produced from within the country as opposed to having to rely on foreign orders or outside help as in years past. With little or no turbojet development experience on hand, the ministry hired fabled German designer Kurt Tank (of Focke-Wulf fame) to come aboard and begin the new age of jet fighter design for India's air force. Tank set about to create from all the knowledge he had gained during his years prior to, during and after the war, particularly on swept-wing design and turbojet technology. Along with his expertise, about a dozen more German engineers joined the fray, relocating to India to assist with the challenging project.

Design work proceeded in 1957 and would soon produce the first prototype which would fly in 1961. The all-weather, Mach 2 capable fighter featured a dual HAL/Rolls-Royce turbojet engines generating nearly 5,000lbs of thrust. The single-seat fighter featured a swept-wing low-monoplane design on a basic cylindrical fuselage. The rudder was mounted at rear, above the jet exhaust with the elevators mounted low on the fuselage near the exhaust. Armament consisted of 4 x 30mm cannons and the capability to mount ground attacks with air-to-surface rockets and bombs. Engine production was handled locally but build as licensed copies of the British Rolls-Royce Bristol Orpheus 703. After continued development and various flight models tests, the Marut aircraft would soon enter service by 1967.

By all accounts the system did not meet overall expectations considering what the Western nations were producing at the same time. 1975 saw full production totals of the Marut hit the century mark but they had already become woefully outdated by modern standards. The system did see local action against Pakistani forces in the Indo-Pakistan clashes that ensued. But beyond that combat action, the system was a basic aircraft at best. At the very least, the system did introduce a newly-independent nation to the world of military aviation design. The experience gained from the early trials and in the production of localized turbojets would develop the nations military power output for decades to come.

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Specifications for the
HAL HF-24 Marut
All-Weather Multi-Role Aircraft


Focus Model: HAL HF-24 Marsut
Country of Origin: India
Manufacturer: Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd - India
Initial Year of Service: 1962
Production: 100


Crew: 1


Length: 52.07ft (15.87m)
Width: 29.53ft (9.00m)
Height: 11.81ft (3.60m)
Weight (Empty): 13,658lbs (6,195kg)
Weight (MTOW): 24,048lbs (10,908kg)


Powerplant: 2 x HAL / Rolls Royce Orpheus Mk 703 turbojet engines generating 4,850lb of thrust.


Maximum Speed: 691mph (1,112kmh; 600kts)
Maximum Range: 620miles (997km)
Service Ceiling: 40,000ft (12,192m; 7.6miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 4,444 feet per minute (1,355m/min)


Hardpoints: 4
Armament Suite:
4 x 30mm cannons
50 x 2.68in rockets (retractable underside launcher)

A variety of external weapons can be carried as well, including iron bombs.


Variants:
HF-24 Marut - Base Production Model of which about 100 were produced.


Operators:
India