Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India]: Rajnath Singh, who became the first defence minister to fly a Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, said he was thrilled and called it a special experience. The 68-year-old Minister completed a 30-minute sortie on Thursday. He was accompanied by Air Vice Marshal N Tiwari, Project Director, National Flight Test Centre, ADA (Aeronautical Development Agency) in the familiarization sortie.
"I was very thrilled and it was a special experience. I want to praise the bravery of our air force fighters and all the armed forces. Tejas is fourth-generation fighter aircraft and it is indigenous. First time, I flew this and the flight was very smooth and comfortable. I was enjoying," he said. "There were some acrobats up in the air. I want to congratulate scientists, ADA, HAL and DRDO. Today other countries are demanding for Tejas. We have reached a situation where we can supply aircraft to other countries," he added Singh flew in Tejas that took off from the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) airport here this morning.
Sharing his experience, the Defence Minister said, "It is an indigenous aircraft and therefore I want to experience its flight. I wanted to know in what circumstances our pilots have to fly the plane. I had no problem in controlling the aircraft and I was following the instructions given by Air Vice Marshal N Tiwari". Later Singh took to twitter and wrote, "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." Meanwhile, Air Vice-Marshal N Tiwari, Project Director, National Flight Test Centre, ADA (Aeronautical Development Agency) speaking to media said that the Defence Minister was very happy with the flying quality of the aircraft (LCA Tejas). "We went close to Mark 1 i.e. the speed of sound," Tiwari said.
DRDO Chief Dr G Satheesh Reddy said, "The Defence Minister also controlled Tejas for some time." The Tejas is an Indian single-engine, delta wing, multirole light fighter designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy. It came from the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme, which began in the 1980s to replace India's ageing MiG-21 fighters. In 2003, the LCA was officially named "Tejas".