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Rajnath Singh takes to the skies in Made in India Tejas; 1st defence minister to fly in light combat aircraft

Rajnath Singh became the first Indian defence minister ever to fly in the fighter jet. Air Vice-Marshal N Tiwari, who is also the project director, National Flight Test Centre, ADA (Aeronautical Development Agency) in Bengaluru accompanied Singh.

twitter-logo BusinessToday.In   Benagluru     Last Updated: September 19, 2019  | 15:11 IST
Rajnath Singh takes to the skies in Made in India Tejas; 1st defence minister to fly in light combat aircraft
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Thursday flew in the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas from the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd's (HAL) Bengaluru airport.

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Thursday flew in the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas from the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd's (HAL) Bengaluru airport. Singh became the first Indian defence minister ever to fly in the fighter jet. Air Vice-Marshal N Tiwari, who is also the project director, National Flight Test Centre, ADA (Aeronautical Development Agency) in Bengaluru accompanied Singh.

The defence minister took a 30-minute sortie in made-in-India Tejas in his bid to boost the morale of the Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots, who have been engaged in developing the fighter jet, a defence ministry official said on Wednesday. "It will also boost the morale of IAF pilots who are flying these aircraft," the official said earlier. Singh wore a G-suit and tweeted his pictures, saying he was "all set" for the day.

Sharing his experience on his flying experience on Tejas, Singh tweeted, "Flying on 'Tejas', an Indigenous Light Combat Aircraft from Bengaluru's HAL Airport was an amazing and exhilarating experience. Tejas is a multi-role fighter with several critical capabilities. It is meant to strengthen India's air defence capabilities.

Flying on 'Tejas', an Indigenous Light Combat Aircraft from Bengaluru's HAL Airport was an amazing and exhilarating experience. Tejas is a multi-role fighter with several critical capabilities. It is meant to strengthen India's air defence capabilities.

He thanked the Vice-President of India, IAF, HAL, DRDO and several other agencies for flying sortie on Tejas. "Thank you Uprashtrapatiji, but the real credit must go to HAL, DRDO, IAF and several other agencies. Thanks to these agencies, today we have reached a level where we can export fighter planes across the world."

Later in the day, Singh also attended an exhibition of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) products in Bengaluru. Tejas, a four-and-half generation light combat aircraft is developed by state-run aerospace giant HAL. The indigenous aircraft has already been inducted by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in its fleet. However, the naval version of Tejas is in the development phase.

Since June 2018, the IAF has inducted 16 weaponised LCAs into its combat fleet after its earlier version was validated by its pilots with initial operational clearance (LoC) given by the military aviation regulator Cemilac in December 2013. Although the IAF will have two squadrons of Tejas initially with 18 fighters each, it intends to have more squadron with an additional 83 of them as Mark-1 version.

Also read: HAL gets nod to produce weaponised version of LCA Tejas

Also Read: Defence Minister Rajnath on 5-day visit to Japan, South Korea from Sunday

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