Rajnath Singh becomes first defence minister to fly in light combat aircraft Tejas
New Delhi: 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 Defence Ministry official had said on Wednesday that the minister is “taking a sortie” in order to boost the morale of officers who have been involved in the development of “indigenously made Tejas”. “It will also boost the morale of IAF pilots who are flying these aircraft. The minister will be briefed by IAF officers before taking a sortie on Thursday,” he had added.
He was accompanied by Air Vice Marshal N Tiwari, who is also the Project Director, National Flight Test Centre, ADA (Aeronautical Development Agency) in Bengaluru.
Singh would also be attending an exhibition of products of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Bengaluru.
The IAF has already inducted a batch of Tejas aircraft. The naval version of the LCA is in the development stage. Last Friday, the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) succeeded in the first “arrested landing” test in the country.
Designed and developed by the Bengaluru-based Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) of the state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and built by the aerospace mammoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), the single-engine, delta wing, multi-role fighter was flown by a senior IAF pilot.
Initially, the IAF had placed an order with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for 40 Tejas aircraft. Last year, the IAF issued the request for proposal (RFP) to HAL for the procurement of another batch of 83 Tejas at a cost of over Rs 50,000 crore.
The Defence Acquisition Council, headed by Singh, has accorded approval for procurement of weapons and military platforms amounting to around Rs 2,000 crore.