Kurt Tank's classic design
The first aircraft to be seen in the HAL museum is the HF-24 Marut 1T, [S.No. D-1695]. It is one of the rarer two seater trainer versions manufactured by HAL, only 19 of them being thus built. What is unusual about the aircraft is its yellow-brown desert camouflage scheme. No Marut ever wore this scheme during its service with the IAF. The aircraft was earlier seen in its original metallic finish in a photo feature in Koku Fan by Peter Stienmann which appeared in the late 80s. So apparently sometime in the 90s the aircraft was painted in this garish scheme. In addition , the label ‘MARUT’ painted in white on its side.
D-1695 has only one ejection seat in its cockpit. The front ejection seat was missing and this was replaced by a fibreglass mockup to give a complete appearance. The aircraft is displayed besides the MiG-21 and its huge size is noticeable. The left undercarraige cover looks damaged and dented. The engine bays and inlets are covered and the aircraft does not have any engines inside. All the wheels are mounted on special made chocks to prevent the weight falling on the tyres.
All other surviving Maruts elsewhere in India , are displayed in the more accurate pure metal finish. Though this particular camouflage scheme is inaccurate, D-1695 represents the moderately successful attempt by HAL to design and build a jet fighter.