Was She or Wasn’t She?

Excerpts from an interesting blog

“HAL HF 24 Marut “Spirit of the Tempest” by: Kurt Tank”

at http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread15781/pg1

“Jetsetter: Very interesting and good looking aircraft.

Fulcrum: Yeah, i know that is why i shared this with you all..
Funny thing that it should have “all-natural metal” finish.. no camo.. but it saves in weight, make performance  better, as like US 8. airforce stopped painting the B-17s they were 500kgs lighter..

Fulcrum: Nobody seems to be intrested in this fine aircraft..
At least nobody hasn’t post anything exept Jetsetter..
Well i am.. interested.. i think it is cool looking, but under estimated..
It is also only REAL COMBAT AIRCRAFT build by HAL.. (Indians, Hindustan..) That they have designed by themselfs..
With kind assistance of Kurt Tank..
At least until the LCA enters service, IF IT DOES..
MIGs and JAGUARs or GNATs and AJEETs werent designed in India.. not really..

HAL HF-24 Marut was, one fine piece of work!

Seekerof: Lets see…..
1) its ugly
2) India’s first indegenius fighter aircraft and Asia’s first supersonic fighter.
3) Couldn’t be improved very much further than shown due to lack of suitable powerplants. The Marut was very under-powered.
4) The rate of production of the Hal HF-24 Marut was very slow thanks to militant unions who would go beserk and on strike if the workers had to do any work!
5) In the 1965 War, Marut’s was suposedly shot down by a F-104 Starfighter.
6) India hadn’t developed a serious fighter aircraft for over 30 years, since the Marut. The LCA is the first since.
7) It was known as a good ground attack aircraft.
8) The Marut was not an air-superiority weapon.
9) In short….the Marut project was quite a good program, given how extensively the cards were stacked against it at the start.
10) I give it a 7 out of 10.



All others i allready knew, but:

1) It really isnt ugly.. no way..

5) During 1965 war there was only 1 HF-24 “operational”.. the prototype? And somehow i cant image transsonic Marut fighting and winning the 2,5 mach F-104.. if things appeared to go “wrong way” for F-104 pilot he could easily just escape.. fly away..

10) As a weapon i would only give it 3/10 as it was not “air-superiority weapon” and to be effective as fighter-bomber the numbers just were to small..

With 3 squadrons one cant achieve much..

Groingrinder: I don’t see how you can call the Marut ugly. I think the fact that it was produced at all is a great achievement. I just recently “discovered” this aircraft and have fallen in love with its good looks.”
As Hufrid would say…..”Amen”

“Fulcrum; a member of AboveTopSecret.com”,and fellow members Jetsetter, Seekerof and Groingrinder discussing the Marut.


13 Responses to Was She or Wasn’t She?

  1. kk bakshi says:

    kk bakshi Says:
    February 21, 2010 at 11:25 am | Reply

    Marut was not just a beauty but a formadible ground attack aircraft with an airframe way ahead of its time. i never had any doubts about its destructive power and ability to getaway safely to fight another day.

    AM Shashi Ramdas has recounted the story about Marut vs Mig very accurately and it only proves she was the best of her day.


  2. Dara says:

    Even if it is a few decades late……perhaps someone somewhere will learn from the past. That turf wars and cover ups, are not loyalty but are in fact the opposite. This kind of misplaced loyalty actually closes all avenues for improvement and progress. It does, however, open a few doors to personal glory.

    On a lighter note though, I recall that AM Greene, after he flew the Marut, in his inimitable humorous manner remarked “She’s a beauty, no doubt on that. It is also the only aircraft, I know, where nothing moves faster than the fuel guage.”

    Hey I’m not a traitor, I just love a good one when I hear it. 🙂

  3. Tony Garg says:

    I recall an instance of a 2 V 1. Maruts and Mig21. It was during a DASI visit to 31 Sqn. The Dasi member in the MiG was Tully Talwar and the Maruts flown by self and Ravi Burli (if I remember right).

    It was a ‘no contest’ verdict from Tully during debrief. In favour of the Maruts. Though all details seem to be consigned to my poor recall facilities; Ravi Burli may be able to fill in. …. and Tully of course!

    Once it got airborne, the Marut was, despite its oft advertised problems, a good ground attack aircraft. Quite capable of holding its own in the ground attack/close air support role. A worthy replacement for the Mystere.

    Due to its known problems during initial development, the Marut, was often presumed to be a non-starter by both the Air Force and, therefore the HAL.

    The IAF could not ‘slot’ it into its operational scheme of things. Therefore no definite developmental targets set. Ad-hocism was the order of the day. Off the shelf Russian alternatives were seen as an easy way out. A few mis-timed mishaps added to the perception that the aircraft could enter service, at best, as a face saver for both HAL and the governments’ Nehruvian vision. The slow paced and directionless development ensured that it was ‘timed out’.

    The definition was never sought to be changed.

    Never-the-less, to a few of us who flew it operationally, it was still an aircraft we swore by.
    Not one pilot doubted that he could successfully accomplish the assigned missions.

    Can you imagine what the Marut would have been like if the program had gone as per the initial QRs? I’ll continue to live the fanatacy. I’ll always have a very soft corner for this beautiful but unfortunate aircraft.

    • Dara says:

      When you say ‘Therefore no definite developmental targets set. Ad-hocism was the order of the day.’ you hit the nail on the head.

      Groupie Chakko had made a telling point in his first mail to us when he said “And if we had done the right things then, I have absolutely no doubt that that beast would still be flying…..” Subsequently I had asked him to take this a little further to which he said he would be sending me his book “My Memoirs” wherein he has gone into more details. However, he has recently expressed his distress again in another mail:

      “Any way,all I can say now is that WE really blew it then, we lost some of our best (Bless their souls), and played filthy dirty politics. And we still continue to be under equipped to fight a war that will no doubt be forced upon us in the not so distant future.
      I am sure these Marut debates are invaluable for our leaders today to take note of. We are ill equipped in many more ways than one. Why and again I ask why. ??
      I hope I am not getting carried away emotionally, after all we gave of our best. I sure lost one of my best friends.
      Regards for now.
      Jacob Chakko.”

  4. kk bakshi says:


    Marut was not just a beauty but a formadible ground attack aircraft with an airframe way ahead of its time. i never had any doubts about its destructive power and ability to getaway safely to fight another day.

    AM Shashi Ramdas has recounted the story about Marut vs Mig very accurately and it only proves she was the best of her day.


  5. Hufrid says:

    This ‘was she, wasn’t she’ stuff is getting interesting. It reminds me of that old Bee Gees song ‘I started a joke that set the whole world….’

    Bugs are crawling out of the woodwork (and I don’t mean to be insulting), but it is going to give all you blessed guys going to Jodhpur an icebreaker.

    That beauty was bad-mouthed too long – now is a good time as any to set it right. Actually some of the Mig and SU jockeys would have given their eyeteeth to fly it, but catch them admitting that!!

    Hi Shasi, sir do you remeber the time (1971) at the runway crossing point when you stopped me from becoming a statistic? Will catch up with you all in Poona sometime – are all of you forming some sort of Marut Club there?


  6. Dara says:

    Nothing to be crest fallen about sir. We all meet our match sometimes!

    Saying from ‘The Fastest Gun Alive’ comes to mind….”No matter how fast you are there’s always someone faster” 😉

    I guess I’m getting carried away now..

  7. tksen says:

    Re Shashi’s annecdote above, as the crestfallen MiG21 CO, I admit to the veracity of the tale!!

  8. Dara says:

    Shashi Sir,

    What can I say. Isn’t it about time we had that drink together. I could show you so that all excuses can be dispensed with! 🙂

    How about to-morrow


  9. Dara says:

    And who was this great guy who called the Marut “UGLY”?
    He has probably never seen a Marut in his entire mis-spent life, much less flown/maintained one.
    …………. Shashi Ramdas (an unabashed ardent Marut fan)

    • Dara says:

      From Groupie Jacob Chakko via email

      Dear Friends,
      Bravo Shashi,
      Yes, Sir, that guy, whoever he is, I am sure has never been near an HF24.! Sure many things could have been and should have been done differently and better. We have only ourselves to blame.
      But the HF24 was way ahead of its time with Dr. Kurt Tank’s emphasis on aerodynamic cleanliness. Its overall ‘drag coefficient’ was even lower than that of the Mirage that we got much later.
      Many of us can remember seeing a Hunter and an HF24
      approaching the HAL airfield together. The Hunter could be heard from way out there, may be a 1000 yards from the perimeter. You simply did not and could not hear the HF till it was actually over the perimeter. That alone says it all.
      Again those who have flown the Hunter and the HF will attest to tests, where if they were cruising in close formation, slamming open full throttle together, the HF would simply accelerate away leaving the Hunter quite far behind. That’s what that guy called an “ugly” aircraft.! Right ? !!!!
      I am having problems with my computer just now and I regret not being able to join in these debates in these Group Mails. I hope I will be able to do so very soon.
      Jacob Chakko.

      • Dara says:

        From AM Shashi Ramdas via email

        Yes, Sir. You are absolutely right.
        If an HF-24 and a Hunter were flying side by side at 400 kts, and both slammed their throttles forward simultaneously, the HF-24 would easily pull away from the Hunter.

        Another little-known fact is the outcome of an unofficial exercise carried out in Jodhpur, some time in the latter half of the 1970s, when a MiG-21 detachment happened to be there.
        As is normal during a typical crew room “discussion” (read argument), the relative merits of the HF-24 and the MiG-21, in their respective roles, led to a challenge by the HF-24 Squadron Commander (I think it was “Joe” Bakshi). He told the MiG-21 detachment commander to mount a CAP over the airfield and he would carry out a 4-aircraft strike on the airfield with his HF-24s. (There may possibly have been a small bet laid on the outcome!!) The MiG-21 lads happily (and with a bit of a smirk) accepted the challenge. The MiG-21 CAP was mounted and the HF-24s carried out a routine pull-up attack followed by a deck level high speed getaway. Leave aside catching the HF-24s before or during the attack, the MiG-21s could not get a single shot of the HF-24s, even during their getaway!!!
        I am told that one of the MiG-21s could eventually catch up with one of the HF-24s but, because of the tree-top height at which the HF-24 was flying, could not get his nose down enough to get a shot on him.
        (Dara, you could check on this with “Joe” Bakshi or some of the other Marut old-timers).

        Sir, I am totally ignorant on how to log on to the Marut blogsite and post blogs, so I am hereby requesting Dara Cooper to put both your and my blogs on the blogsite.
        Regards………………………….. Shashi

  10. Hufrid says:

    Beauty lies in…

    Groingrinder has good taste!!

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