This episode discusses the history of 24th June and includes the first ‘make in India’ India’s first supersonic fighter aircraft, the HF-24, successfully taking off on its maiden flight in 1961. The second story focuses on the test-firing of India’s first third-generation anti-tank missile, the NAG, on June 24th, 1990.
Before I delve into the history of 24th June let me share some interesting information. It was on this day in the year 2010 when the longest tennis match was played. The match which lasted for 11 hours and 5 minutes at the Wimbledon championship was played between John Isner from the United States and Nicolas Mahut of France. Here is a clip from that match.
And now my first story from the history of 24th June.
H24 Supersonic fighter aircraft
Recently we have come across a term ‘Make in India’. But as I flip through the pages from the history of 24th June I see that the first make in India was way back in 1961 when India developed a supersonic fighter aircraft named H-24. It was on this day when H-24 successfully took off for its maiden flight. A significant milestone indeed especially looking at the situation of the country at that time. This remarkable achievement marked a new era in India’s pursuit of technological self-reliance and cemented its position as a credible player in the field of aviation.
The HF-24, designed and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), represented a major leap forward in Indian defense capabilities. It was a single-seat, all-weather, multi-role combat aircraft specifically designed to meet the demands of the Indian Air Force (IAF). The aircraft’s development was headed by Dr. Kurt Tank, a renowned German aircraft designer who had previously contributed to the development of the famous Focke-Wulf Fw 190 during World War II.
Powered by two Orpheus engines, the HF-24 had a top speed of Mach 1.1, making it capable of supersonic flight. It featured several advanced systems and technologies for its time, including radar, a weapons system, and air-to-air missiles. The HF-24’s design incorporated a delta wing configuration, providing it with excellent maneuverability and high-speed performance.
The successful maiden flight of the HF-24 marked a significant achievement for India’s aviation industry. It showcased the country’s ability to design and manufacture advanced military aircraft, thereby reducing its dependence on imports. The development of the HF-24 served as a testament to India’s commitment to technological self-sufficiency and the country’s determination to bolster its defense capabilities.
Following its maiden flight, the HF-24 underwent an extensive flight test program to evaluate its performance, stability, and operational capabilities. The aircraft’s capabilities were gradually expanded through various test flights, and it underwent several modifications based on the test results. Eventually, the HF-24 was inducted into the IAF in 1968, becoming the first supersonic fighter aircraft to be produced in India.
The HF-24 played a crucial role in the IAF’s fleet, serving for several decades until its retirement in the early 1990s. Although the aircraft did not see active combat during its service, it served as a valuable asset in enhancing the IAF’s operational preparedness and acted as a stepping stone for India’s subsequent advancements in the field of aviation.
From the first ‘Make in India’ we come to another make in India; The ‘NAG’ missile, my second story from the history of 24th June.
NAG – the country’s first third-generation anti-tank missile
It was the 24th of June 1990 when defense scientists successfully test-fired India’s first third-generation anti-tank missile, aptly named ‘NAG.’ This state-of-the-art weapon system has been developed by our brilliant scientists and engineers who have dedicated their expertise to enhancing our national security.
The NAG missile, a product of extensive research and development efforts, boasts cutting-edge technology and exceptional precision. It is specifically designed to neutralize and destroy heavily armored tanks, making it a crucial asset in modern warfare scenarios. The third-generation classification indicates that the NAG possesses advanced features, surpassing its predecessors in terms of effectiveness and performance.
The test-firing of the NAG missile was conducted under controlled conditions at a designated facility, adhering to the highest safety standards. The missile demonstrated remarkable accuracy and efficacy, hitting its intended target with exceptional precision. The introduction of the NAG missile into our defense arsenal boosted our capabilities to counter armored threats effectively.
With this, I come to the end of today’s episode.
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A devoted foodie with keen interest in wild life, music, cinema and travel Somashis has evolved over time . Being an enthusiastic reader he has recently started making occasional contribution to write-ups.