PRAMESH S JAIN
Union Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday became the first defence minister and first Indian Politician to fly in the indigenous light combat aircraft Tejas,at HAL Airport in Bengaluru.
The 68-year-old Minister completed a 30-minute sortie and also controlled the aircraft for some time.
The Minister arrived at the HAL Airport centre at around 9am and tweeted a photos wearing the G-suit, a white helmet and an oxygen mask before taking off for a 30-minute sortie from the HAL airport in Bengaluru. on a twin-seater version of the fighter jet,which was developed by state-run aerospace company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
Before the flight, the pilot and other top Indian Air Force officials briefed Singh. Air Vice Marshal N Tiwari was among the officers who accompanied him to the jet.
The indigenously-developed Tejas Light Combat Aircraft has been manufactured at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) for the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy.Tejas is a fully-weaponised light fighter with a single engine multi-role.Although a lightweight aircraft with a short range,Tejas aircraft can carry the same array of modern weapons that bigger warplanes carry, from precision guided and standoff weaponry to long-range beyond visual range’ missiles that can take down enemy planes from a safe distance.
“The Defence Minister controlled the aircraft for sometime, said DRDO Chairman,Dr G Sathish Reddy”.
G Sathish Reddy,Chairman Chief of DRDO,said the Indian Aeronautics fraternity today Honourable Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh is flying now in the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas.He is the first Minister from India who is flying in LCA.Infact this year is a great eventful year for the LCA Tejas Aircraft.In February we got the final operation clearance then for the 83 Aircrafts the negotiations have completed in the MOD a large number of production orders and now today Honourable Raksha Mantri is flying in this Aircraft.The space way for the long journey what we have ahead for the fighter aircrafts in India. We will take on from here the production of the present FOC Aircraft and then the Mark -1A,MK-1A which is will be ordered very soon.After that the road map is very clear the Mark-2,MKII activities will pick up and in the coming years we will have the role out the first flight.Also the advance medium combat aircraft activities have started design activities are going on seriously and AMCA will finally it will have it’s trails and gets inducted into the Air Force.This is the road map for the Indian fighter Aircrafts what we have and all activites the industry and the design activities the corresponding research activities in the acemdemic year all have grade up and all are going ahead as expected.Once again I in the end thank Honourable Raksha Mantri for taking his time and flying in the Tejas Aircraft and making a mark that the first Raksha Mantri flying in Tejas Aircraft.When asked this 83 Tejas aircraft we have been hearing this sometime it going to happen can you tell us how soon these 83 will be signed DRDO Chief replied saying the negotiations are already completed and other formalities are taking place and soon it should happen.AMCA project reports have been move any fund requirements has been mentioned he said the initial design activity related sanction has already been given and the final program sanction will be taken off.What will be the cost for that for developing this he said I think after few months when we are working on the details and go into sanction details.when asked what is the progress in the Tejas MKII, upto he said the design activities seriously going on configuration studies have been completed and once it is completed the actual manufacturing work will be done he added.
“The LCA Tejas flight was very smooth and comfortable,the after flying in the flight flight.I was thrilled – Defence Minister Rajnath Singh”.
Defence Minister,Rajnath Singh,said LCA Tejas is fourth generations fighter Aircraft which is indeginously manufactured Aircraft is Tejas.First time I have got a opportunity to fly in Tejas Aircraft and to fly this Tejas Aircraft I was trained and guided by captain Air Vice Marshal N Tiwari,who is standing next to me and while on flying I was talking to the Pilot and while flying in the Sortie it was very smooth and very very comfortable for me and I was enjoying.I wanted to say while flying I even saw how it functions I can say that I am proud of our Indian scientists,HAL,ADA,which is our agency which has made its designed and HAL,DRDO and other organizations I congratulate all of them.Tejas is getting demand in other countries also and I can tell you now we have reach to the extent we can supply the fighter planes,and many arms and ammunition also we can export.Exporting the fighter planes,arms and ammunitions we have already started altogether I can tell is that this is one of the pride moment for me in my life.He even said I was told that I am the first Defence Minister who has flied in Tejas.Raksha Mantri replied telling that while flying I even collected information about Air Vice Marshal N Tiwari family also and I even got to know why he joined Air Force also.Rajnath Singh even said that controlling the aircraft for two minutes is the most memorable moment in my life.I chose Tejas since it is made indigenously.Countries in South East Asia have shown interest in buying Tejas aircraft.
Air Vice Marshal, N Tiwari said,Honourable Raksha Mantri was flying the aircraft in the air and he liked it.When reporters asked he was also flying and what was the zeal like,Tiwari said he went upto only two two and half zeal but I was showing him more of avionic sophistication system that we have on the board like laser pot diving maneuvering and turning and we can pick up targets from 20-25 kilometres.During the flight,I showed him various operations of the radar as well as laser pot,maneuvering and turning off the aircraft,I showed this to Raksha Mantri he even said he was very happy with the flying quality,Smoothness and controls and the way the Aircraft was flying we went close to Mark1 speed of sound but he couldn’t make out I had to tell me that this the speed now.Raksha Mantri controlled the aircraft and flown the aircraft for sometime.When reporters asked Defence Minister,Rajnath Singh that how you feel after controlling the aircraft he said I dint had any problem in controlling the aircraft I was following the instructions of AVM N Tiwari when reporters asked that controlling the fighter plane With co-pilot is big achievement he said it is a great honour for me and for him see he is the first Defence Minister to fly on Tejas and for us it is a very unique experience and it is a honour also to us he even said Raksha Mantri was fully comfortable.
I compliment Defence Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh Ji for flying on Tejas, the indigenously built multi-role fighter aircraft, today. His gesture in flying on the LCA will provide a big boost to the morale of the Armed Forces and also to DRDO & HAL @DRDO_India @rajnathsingh #Tejas Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu tweeted.
The Air Force has already inducted a batch of the indigenous fighter jets. Initially, it had asked the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for 40 Tejas aircraft but last year the Air Force issued a request for procurement of 83 more such jets at a cost of more than Rs 50,000 crore.
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.
Though he is the first defence minister to fly in a Tejas, his predecessor and current Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman flew in a Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter on January 17, 2008, from Jodhpur in Rajasthan.
Earlier in February, ace shuttler PV Sindhu and Army chief General Bipin Rawat flew in the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas during the Aero India 2019 air show in Bengaluru.
Former presidents Pratibha Patil and APJ Abdul Kalam also flew in Sukhoi-30 on November 25, 2009, and June 8, 2006, from Pune in western Maharashtra while in office. Kalam was the first president of India to fly in a fighter jet.