Defence Minister Rajnath Singh takes a sortie in LCA Tejas

Rajnath Singh has become the first defence minister to fly in the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas in Bengaluru. Tejas is a four-and-half generation light combat aircraft developed by state-run aerospace behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).

He flew in the LCA’s trainer as a familiarization sortie from the HAL airport in the city’s eastern suburb.The pilots of the 45 Squadron Flying Daggers acquainted the Defence Minister with the air prowess of the home-grown fighter, its avionics, controls and radar in the glass cockpit and the weapons it carries for strike power before taking off for a 30-minute sortie.

After the flight Singh said that it was very smooth and comfortable. He wants to congratulate HAL, DRDO and several concerned agencies. They have reached a level where we can export fighter planes across the world.

Last Friday, LCA Tejas had carried out an ‘arrested landing’, a key performance parameter that demonstrated its ability to land on board an aircraft carrier by making it a major milestone in development of the naval variant of the fighter jet.

With final operational clearance (FoC), the IAF has inducted 16 weaponised LCAs into its combat fleet since June 2018 after its pilots have validated its earlier version with initial operational clearance (IoC) by the military aviation regulator Cemilac in December 2013.

Former Presidents Pratibha Patil and A.P.J. Abdul Kalam also flew in Su-30 on November 25, 2009 and June 8, 2006 from Pune in western Maharashtra when in office as Supreme Commander of the armed forces. Patil was the first woman President and Kalam the first President to fly in a military fighter.

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