Bengaluru: The picture of Lord Hanuman on HAL super fighter jet model Maruth HLFT-42 which was removed on the second day of the Aero India Show 2023 in Bengaluru following a controversy, was back on the last day of the show on Friday February 17.
The picture of Lord Hanuman was embossed on the tail of the HLFT-42 aircraft model. The picture also had the tagline “the storm is coming”. When asked about the intention behind the sticker, HAL CMD C.M. Ananthkrishnan just stated, “we had put the sticker just to depict the power of the aircraft, but after an internal discussion, we decided not to have it so we removed it.”
It was a simple thing and was based on the previous trainer aircraft ‘Marut’ but we saw some interpretations. The project is still in the initial stage and we only wanted to focus on the project, he said.
The controversy arose after Union Minister for Mine, Coal, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi had tweeted about the Lord Hanuman picture and expressed his happiness over it. Taking a line of the prayer dedicated to Lord Hanuman, Pralhad Joshi also shared the pictures of Maruth HLFT 42, a super jet model. “The picture of Bajrangbali (Lord Hanuman) is specially highlighted on the jet,” he said.
The pictures of the model of Maruth super jet went viral on social media stirring a debate on printing the Hindu God’s image on the fighter jet. Some progressive thinkers objected that the armed forces should not have any religious representations which would affect the morale of the soldiers.
HAL after noticing the controversy had removed the picture of Lord Hanuman putting an end to the debate. However, Lord Hanuman’s sticker coming back again is likely to stir a controversy.
The HLFT-42 is called Hindustan Lead in Fighter Trainer which is regarded as the ‘Next Generation Supersonic Trainer’. HAL is displaying the model for the first time at the Aero India Show 2023.
The jet is expected to play a critical role in modern combat aircraft training with state-of-the-art avionics like Active Electronically Scanned Array, Electronic Warfare Suite, Infrared Search and Track with Fly by Wire Control system.