Nestled on the southern perimeter of the Bangalore airport is the Aircraft Systems Testing Establishment – otherwise known as ASTE. ASTE is home to test pilot training in India. It operates several different types of aircraft to be used by its personnel.
|HAL HF-24 Marut 1T [D-1696] on display at the Aircrafts and Systems Testing Establishment in Bangalore. The aircraft is a rare two seater version and is the third marut on display in Bangalore. Pic Courtesy : Sanjay Simha|
A HF-24 Marut two seater is on display as the Gate Gaurdian at ASTE. The aircraft is ofcourse, one of the only 18 trainers ever built and is displayed on a platform in front of the ASTE main building.
The aircraft is in excellent condition but for the canopy frame which seems to have been an ‘after market’ modification. It was possible that the canopy was lost longtime ago and a replacement was ‘hammered’ out by the IAF personnel. That is the only detracting point from the aircraft.
|Close up of the Black Granite platform in front of the Marut. It not only has the ASTE’s emblem but also the outlines of the various types flown by ASTE down the ages. Photo Copyright : Wg Cdr Joseph Thomas|
|Another view of the HF-24 at ASTE. This photo clearly shows the ‘jagged’ Photo Copyright : Wg Cdr Joseph Thomas|