Marut Sqns got the Marut trainer some time around 1976. I am not sure of the date since I was doing a ground tenure with AFRO (1975-Jan77). Till then we had Hunter as a trainer for dual checks etc. By 78-79 it was decided by Air Staff to use Maruts for early morning raids ie take off before dawn and strike the target by dawn and return or for later evening raids. ie strike at dusk and recover after dusk. The fighters were modified with UV lamps and instrumentation and panels done. The trainer was not modified and needed modification. ASTE did some trials after modification by HAL and cleared the trainer aircraft for night flying. On 22 Sep 1979, I was ferrying the first night modified trainer from Bangalore to Jodhpur via Pune. Took off from Pune, and while climbing to 33,000 ft, I had both engine failures (seizure) around 25000ft. I was in IMC conditions but decided to glide towards Ozar for dead stick landing. Broke clouds at 15G but could not see ozar. I decided to eject at 9,000. Ozar is at 3000 ft. During landing, my spine hit some small stone and I was paralysed. It took some months to recover. I was declared A2G2 after a very long time but unfit to fly ejection seat aircraft. The cause of seizure was central line closer ie if you are flying with engine at 100% rpm in visibility condition less than 100 M and temp less than freezing, the Orpheus engine will seize. This information had come to HAL and Op command but both sat on the information because they wanted some clarification from manufacturer before issuing Tech and Air Staff Instructions to Sqns. I came to know about it, when SMSO 1 Opl Group Air Cmde Gurcharan Singh came to see me at MH Kirkee. Earlier, I feel that Jug Jug Kapoor too had similar experience but in his case loss of power was partial. He had to eject since he was low at mid key position. Unfortunate for him, the canopy did not fire and his seat went thru the canopy and he lost his life. The only error made by Jug was not jettisoning the drop tanks. I had brought my view to Gp Capt Minnie Menon during Court of Inquiry and he might have brought it out in the COI. I believe that subsequently Air Staff Inst were issued and when these were withdrawn in not known to me. After discharge from MH, I was on sick leave and later attached to Gp Hq / 32 Wg.
Wg Cdr SC Batra (Retd)