April 23, 2024
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.

HAL HF-24 Marut 1T [D-1695] is the first aircraft to greet the visitor at the HAL Aerospace Museum.
D-1695 was part of HAL’s ‘roving’ collection for some years. It was first seen at the Aerofete ’99 held in Bangalore as seen here. Pic Courtesy : Dr. Shiv Shankar Sastry Click to Enlarge

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.

Click to Enlarge This view of the Marut from the above shows the dog-tooth wing shape. Across the road visible over the wall is the Bangalore – HAL airport Runway.
Side-Profile of the Marut shows the Serial-Number D-1695 painted in large letters, a similarity shared only by the Mysteres and the Ouragans. Click to Enlarge

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.

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