India's first indigenous jet was left to die young.

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by bhramos, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    [​IMG]

    This day, 50 years ago, was a red letter day for the Indian Air Force’s indigenisation programme when the country’s first fighter plane – Hindustan Fighter-24, aka, Marut – took to the air for the first time.

    Today, 50 years later, the IAF has no indigenously built aircraft of any worth. The enthusiam that was associated particularly with Marut died a natural death because of a combination of two factors: import pressures in general and under-powered engines for the aircraft.

    Retired IAF officers told Deccan Herald that neither Air Headquarters nor the Ministry of Defence pursued the indegenisation programme beginning with Marut manufactured by the then Hindustan Aircraft Ltd, later christened as Hindustan Aeronatics Ltd (HAL), with gusto. According to Wg Cdr (retd) Praful Bakshi, Marut’s “Ac*hilles heel” was its engine.

    “After the GNAT started flying, Kurt Tank (a German who had earlier designed the Focke-Wolf) designed the HF-24” which was a “remarkable aircraft but fell short because of the lack of a proper engine”.

    After the aircraft was commissioned, three squadrons were formed and some of them saw action during the 1971 Indo-Pak war in which it took a lot of hits, as one retired IAF officer said.

    At the manufact*uring stage, Rolls Royce agreed to make an engine for the Marut at a cost of Rs 7 lakh per engine. But after the company’s factory in Egypt was bombed by the Israelis in an air attack the IAF re-designed the aircraft, fitting two GNAT engines on it.

    “This did not help because the frame was designed for Mach 2-3 speed and the engines were grossly under-powered,” another retired IAF officer said, adding that with no significant help from western countries in developing the Marut’s engine, the plan to manufacture more of the HF-24 was dropped.

    According to Wg Cdr Baks*hi, “the Marut was the only aircraft which flew supersonic without an afterburner, an aspect which “our planners never gave importance to.
    Besi**d*es, the defence esta**blishment “never thought that this was a great tactical advantage. Senior personnel did not want to fly this aircraft because the worksmanship of HAL was not up to the mark,” he notes.

    The IAF was “happy because nobody wanted an indigenous programme” even though the Marut could do 640 knots, fly low level with four tanks” (comparable to the American F-22).

    Most retired IAF officers Deccan Herald spoke to faulted the Marut’s engine whose under-performance was the main reason why production of the aircraft was grounded.

    “Imagine what a Rs 4-cr*o*re investment could have do*ne to the aircraft”, Air Ma*rs*hal (retd) S K S Ramdas sa*id, adding: “Some of the aircraft had not even clocked 10-12 hours on the log and there was one which had logged only three hours. Only a very rich country like ours could afford such a colossal waste,” he said.

    Another retired Air Marshal said that several test pilots lost their lives because of a combination of mehcanical faults, including a below par engine. The fighter plane’s reputation was marred by technical glitches, including fuel leakages and a problem with the canopy, which eventually took the life of Group Capt Suranjan Das.

    After the Indo-Pak war, the government virtually stalled the IAF’s programme tilting to the seductive appeal of imports which included the procurement and operationalisation of the Russian MiG-21s which subsequently suffered because of the availability of spare parts.

    Now, the aircraft lies all across India in various airfields and the authorities at Air Headquarters and HAL here look the other way because it was a source of embarrassment.

    India's first indigenous jet was left to die young
     
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  3. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    HAL relives first fighter's maiden flight 50 years ago

    BANGALORE: State-run defence behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) celebrated the maiden flight of its first fighter bomber here Friday. It was on this day five decades ago - June 17, 1961 - that Marut (HF-24) took to the skies in this aerospace hub .

    To mark the golden jubilee celebrations of the first indigenous jet, the $2.9-billion company roped in its prime customer the Indian Air Force (IAF) to relive the trials and tribulations of its designers, engineers, technicians and test pilots who worked together to roll out the mock-up wooden glider in 1959 and Marut aircraft two years later.

    "The first generation pilots of the air force just loved flying Marut with a sense of pride as it was our own and stood the test of time for over two decades, with a stellar performance during the Indo-Pak war in 1971," Air Marshal K.J. Mathews said on the occasion.

    Admitting that Marut, which means 'Spirit of the Tempest' in Sanksrit, did not perform the way the air force pilots wanted to fly due to problems its engines faced, Mathews said there was something special about it as it was the first fighter-bomber aircraft that was designed, developed and assembled by a developing country.

    "Notwithstanding the teething troubles they faced from the imported (Orpheus) engines and flight controls, we nurtured it and got to love it eventually. Though I have flown almost the whole range of aircraft over the years, flying Marut was different as the experience was unique," Mathews recalled.

    As part of the IAF frontline fleet, the single-seater Marut played an active role in the India-Pakistan 1965 war and not a single aircraft was lost in any aerial combat.

    IAF test pilot Group Captain Suranjan Das had the honour of flying the prototype of HF-24 with tail number BR 462 in the presence of then defence minister V.K. Krishna Menon and then HAL managing director Air Vice Marshal Aspy Merwan Engineer.

    After Marut was certified for initial and final operational clearances, HAL built 129 single seaters and 18 twin-seater trainers from 1964 to 1977.

    HAL relives first fighter's maiden flight 50 years ago - The Economic Times
     
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  4. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    SUVARNA NEWS - GOLDEN JUBILEE FOR MARUTH AIRCRAFT

     
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  5. Sam2012

    Sam2012 Tihar Jail Banned

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    If we had got high performance engine then this aircraft would have defnitely gone a long way like Gnat, Hunter & MIg-21 in IAF

    Sad Indian aviation lost a big opportunity in 60s & 70s
     
  6. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    @Decklander, @jalsa, @p2prada, @sasi

    Can somebody shed light on what exactly caused the problems with procurement of a worthy engine for the Marut?

    If they were sanctions, we could blame them for the failure of the Marut in the 1970's.

    But what exactly is out excuse for the purportless Tejas programme?
     
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  7. Decklander

    Decklander New Member

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    Marut was one the best transonic fighter designs in the world. Its development started in late 50s with help from Kurt tank but the lack of good engines sealed its fate. The british had started developing Jag at the same time and found that Marut is better than their design so they backed out of their promise of providing adour engines for Marut. The russians offered the old mig-21 FL engines but the offer of Jag in 1976 and Russians decision to offer production of Mig-21s in India killed the project all together. The same game has been repeatedly played in India w.r.t LCA.
     
  8. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    The LCA program was started at the time the Marut was retired. Did'nt make sense at all. We started re-inventing the wheel then. Lot of time, money & brains were lost. Will not surprising in India
     
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  9. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    It did not retired but forced to retired..

    There were many engine options were available that time but none were taken just what is happening now with INSAS..
     
  10. sasi

    sasi Senior Member Senior Member

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    After the 1962 debacle,in 1969(?) we signed the "friendship treaty with ussr" to which ussr will come to rescue whenever, we are in need of it. Here starts the real problem.
    Since our security handed to russia, our netas and babus are busy pleasing the ussr. They didn't bother much abt home industry,since ussr provides the weapons.
    Situation is alarming,whenever we want intelligence abt west,pak or china we go beg the ussr. Ussr have a free run in the country. Corruption is rampant. Hal is just become useless. Whatever they learnt in 1960-70 lost. Arms lobby wings spreads into armed forces.
    No pressure on hal from anyone. Spare parts become another issue. Eventhough other engines are available. No one bother abt it. Since weapons along with commission are coming.
     
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  11. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    It was designed by Kurt Tank,an aeronautical engineer and test pilot who led the design department at Focke-Wulf from 1931 to 1945. He was responsible for the creation of several important Luftwaffe aircraft of World War II, including the Fw 190 fighter aircraft, the Ta 152 fighter-interceptor and the FW 200 Condor airliner

    For the want of an engine, a fine aircraft HF 24 was lost!
     
  12. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    HAL HF-24 Marut - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Kurt Tank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  13. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    HAL had received the old Orpheus 703 engines for the Marut. The 703 was underpowered and the aircraft was underutilized. The main powerplant's development was canceled by the British for whatever reasons and GoI refused to pay for it's development(idiots).

    The RD-9F (Mig-19 engines) from Russia was in contention, but they decided the engine sucked a bit too much. So, they canceled the deal.

    Then we thought of working with the Egyptians on their engine development program. It was called E-xxx(something). The program itself failed.

    GoI was open to a re-engine program until Kurt Tank was in India. The govt pushed for the Egyptian engine until 1970, I suppose. So, not much relation to the success of the Mig-21s here. Anyway even Kurt Tank left India in 1967 and there was nobody experienced enough to lead the program. There were almost 2 dozen other German engineers too. Ended it as quickly as it began. Once the program ended in the 70s, IAF pursued the Jaguar.
     
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  14. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    Seems like the same ceaseless sorry story of mismanagement.

    P.S. What prompted Kurt Tank to leave? Was he as fed up with the Govt's indirection as any foreign engineer would have been?
     
  15. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    I don't know why Tank left.

    Probably got a better job as a consultant in Germany.
     
  16. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    He did return to Germany to work for Messerschmitt again.
     
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  17. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Yeah. But we don't know why he left India.

    He left just after the HF-24 flew with Egyptian engines and the engine was found to have design problems. Even the Egyptians canceled their own plane project after that. So, this seems to be related to his leaving the country.
     
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  18. roma

    roma NRI in Europe Senior Member

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    Sir - i was about to multi quote the three posts above your but yours sums it up v well ...and i have liked you post although i wish there was another way of saying good post .........as neither you nor i "like" the reasons for the failure of the marut
    i was about to make the point of " poor programme management " - but you posts says it all !

    the positive side of it is that program management aint that difficult - it's not quantum physics
    so if india is serious about succeeding - may seem a big if at this time ,
    then we can do it - and i personally believe we could outdo the dragon
    as H.E. former prez A Kallam said " we can do it "
     
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  19. roma

    roma NRI in Europe Senior Member

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    egypt made engines ?????????
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2012
  20. charlyondfi

    charlyondfi Regular Member

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    Truly pity and a sad story, to see an indigenous effort falls even proved its potential.

    It can also work as a good reminder & alert, when Putin just sold another big arm deal...
     
  21. arya

    arya Senior Member Senior Member

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    we should thanks to our enemy not to attack on us. We are same as we were . You can see we dont have best hospital, police, market, saftey to women, etc we ar follwoing our lazy attitude.
     
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