Rajnath Singh becomes first Defence Minister to fly in Tejas fighter aircraft
First Defence Minister to fly in LCA
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday flew in the Tejas fighter aircraft from the HAL airport in Bengaluru, becoming the first defence minister to fly in the indigenously-built light combat aircraft (LCA).
'A thrilling experience'
After the sortie which lasted for around 30 minutes, the defence minister said he chose the aircraft because it was built indigenously and that the experience of flying in the aircraft was thrilling. "Flight very smooth, comfortable, I was thrilled. It was one of the most memorable events of my life," said Singh after alighting from the aircraft.
In a sporty avatar, Singh followed instructions
Wearing a G suit, holding his helmet under his arms and sporting aviator glasses, Singh looked every inch a fighter pilot. An official said the minister also "controlled" and flew the aircraft for around two minutes. However, the minister said he was following orders. "But those two minutes were memorable," he said. The minister had earlier buckled himself in the seat behind the pilot in the aircraft. He was accompanied by Air Vice Marshal N Tiwari, who is also the Project Director, National Flight Test Centre, ADA (Aeronautical Development Agency) in Bengalur
A sortie to boost officers morale
A Defence Ministry official had said on Wednesday that the minister would be "taking a sortie" in order to boost the morale of officers who have been involved in the development of the "indigenously-made Tejas". "It will also boost the morale of IAF pilots who are flying these aircraft," the official had said. The IAF has already inducted a batch of Tejas aircraft. The naval version of the LCA is in the development stage.
The Tejas is an Indian single-engine, delta wing, multirole light fighter designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy. It came from the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme, which began in the 1980s to replace India's ageing MiG-21 fighters. In 2003, the LCA was officially named "Tejas"