|Spirits of the Wind – The HAL HF-24 Marut|
|Tuesday, 27 March 2012 00:00|
(by Pushpindar Singh; ISBN 81-901915- 8-6;The Society for Aerospace Studies, New Delhi; 8¾in x 11¼in hardback; 200 pages; illustrated; available from The Aviation Bookshop, 31-33 Vale Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 1BS; £39.99 plus £5 p&p)
INDIA’S HAL MARUT was the outcome of a requirement for a combat aircraft capable of high-altitude interception and ground attack, and former Focke-Wulf designer Dr Ing Kurt Tank was invited to head Hindustan Aircraft’s design department. Tank had been working in Argentina and had designed the IAe Pulqui, based on his own Ta 183 design which had only been a mock-up at the end of World War Two.
HAL was building Vampires under licence but had limited design experience, and their draughtsmen had simple drawing boards and slide rules but no calculators – Tank must have wondered what he had taken on!
Design began in 1956, with a full-size wooden mock-up available in April 1958. There was also a full-scale wooden glider which flew under tow behind IAF Dakota BJ449, while the first flight of Marut HF001 (BR-462) would have come in May 1961 but the pilot retracted the undercarriage too soon, fortunately without too much damage, and it was ready 14 days later.
A full account of the Marut and its problems makes interesting reading; 129 were built including six prototype Marut 1s plus 18 Mk 1Ts. They equipped three squadrons, a test establishment and the Air Defence Flight. Comparisons are made with eight of its contemporaries, and although Wg Cdr Chopra says in his introduction that the Marut was grossly underpowered, its pilots were reasonably satisfied. There are plenty of illustrations, but some of the monochromes are rather flat. Interesting, if expensive, but there will probably not be another on this subject.