Rajnath becomes 1st Indian defence minister to fly in indigenous combat jet

Photo: India’s Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh embarking on his maiden ‘Tejas’ sortie.

Bengaluru: India’s Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh today scripted history by becoming the first defence minister of the country to fly the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), christened ‘Tejas’.

Rajnath Singh undertook a 30-minute sortie in the multi-role fighter aircraft developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) with the ‘Tejas’ Project Director at National Flight Test Centre, Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) Air Vice Marshal Narmdeshwar Tiwari at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) airport here.

Congratulating HAL, DRDO and ADA for building the four-plus generation fighter aircraft, Rajnath Singh said the demand has been received for the ‘Tejas’ from different countries. He expressed pride over India reaching a stage where fighter aircraft and arms and ammunition can be exported to the world.

Photo: India’s Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh and his ‘Tejas’ flight team.

The minister described his experience of flying the fourth-generation aircraft as “thrilling and special”. Air Vice Marshal Narmdeshwar Tiwari said the minister even controlled the ‘Tejas’ in the air for some time and was shown the avionics and sophisticated systems onboard the aircraft.

Earlier, Rajnath Singh was briefed about the functioning of the ‘Tejas’ by senior officials of the Air Force in the presence of DRDO Chairman and Department of Defence Research and Development Secretary Dr G. Satheesh Reddy, HAL Chairman and Managing Director R. Madhavan.

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