Aero India 2023: HAL removes Hanuman’s image from next-gen HLFT-42 aircraft

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) had an image of Hanuman with the text 'The storm is coming' on the tail of its next-gen supersonic trainer aircraft - HLFT-42 on the first day of the Aero Show 2023. After it caused a stir, HAL removed the picture the next day

HAL aircraft at Aero Show 2023, Hanuman picture
The vertical fin of the aircraft mock-up on display at Aero India 2023 had an image of Lord Hanuman in a mace-swinging combat posture with text – 'The storm is coming'.

The Aero India 2023, which is currently being held in Bengaluru, and billed as Asia’s largest Aero Show, got controversial on its second day. This involved the picture of Lord Hanuman adorning the tail of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)’s HLFT-42 aircraft model, one of the key displays on the first day of the event. After the image of the god generated interest and conversations started appearing on social media, the picture was removed on the second day of the event on February 14.

HAL chairman and MD, CB Ananthakrishnan told the media that after internal discussion, they decided to remove the image of Hanuman as it is not appropriate to put it now. They had decided to use the image to emphasise the aircraft’s power.

According to news reports, HAL had unveiled a scale model of the Hindustan Lead in Fighter trainer (HLFT-42), on Monday, which flaunted a divine image on its fin. The vertical fin of the mock-up had an image of Lord Hanuman in a mace-swinging combat posture and the  image was accompanied with the text – ‘The storm is coming’.

Though HAL did not provide any official statement about the image on the trainer, it had sparked off curiosity among social media users and delegates at the show. However, the image of the god stems from the aircraft’s origins, said reports, as the HFLT-42 is the successor of India’s indigenously developed fighter from the 1960s, the HF-24 Marut.


Also read: Aero India 2023: What to expect at the five-day air show in Bengaluru

Marut is another name for wind, or known as ‘Pawan’ in Hindi. Media reports said that since Lord Hanuman is Pawan’s son, his image probably found its way on the model aircraft.

The HLFT-42 is promoted as the ‘next-gen supersonic trainer’ and will be used in combat aircraft training. It is more advanced than the Hawk-132 Subsonic trainer and Mig-21 that are currently deployed to train pilots in supersonic technology. And, it also comes fitted with state-of-the-art avionics like Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA), Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite, Infrared Search and Track (IRST) with Fly by Wire control (FBW) systems.

The Aero India 2023

Aero India 2023 was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 13. More than 800 companies and delegates from 98 countries are participating in this five-day event.

The 14th edition of Aero India, whose theme is ‘The runway to a billion opportunities’, will project the country as an emerging hub for manufacturing military aircraft, helicopters, military equipment, and new-age avionics. Around 250 business agreements are expected to be firmed up at Aero India, which is estimated to unlock investment to the tune of around Rs 75,000 crore.

Also read: United States Air Force’s F-35 fighter jets to make debut at Aero India

Besides focussing on India’s growth and capabilities in the defence and aerospace sectors, the event’s focus is also on forging partnerships with foreign companies, in line with the ‘Make in India, Make for the World’ vision of the government.

Meanwhile, the US Air Force showcased their two latest fifth-generation supersonic multirole F-35A aircraft at the Aero India show, which stirred interest and added lustre to the event.