Rajnath Singh becomes first defence minister to fly in Tejas fighter jethttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/defence-minister-rajnath-singh-to-fly-in-tejas-fighter-jet-today-6008672/

Rajnath Singh becomes first defence minister to fly in Tejas fighter jet

A Defence Ministry official said 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".

Defence Minster Rajnath Singh on-board Tejas aircraft. Twitter/RajnathSingh

Rajnath Singh on Thursday became the first defence minister of the country to fly in the indigenously-built light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas from the HAL airport in Bengaluru.

After his 30-minute sortie, the Union Minister said he enjoyed the “smooth and comfortable ride”. “It was very smooth and comfortable. I was enjoying. I want to congratulate HAL, DRDO and several concerned agencies. We have reached a level where we can export fighter planes across the world,” news agency ANI quoted him as saying.

A Defence Ministry official had on Wednesday said 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.

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.

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Singh would also be attending an exhibition of products of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Bengaluru.

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 Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, has accorded approval for procurement of weapons and military platforms amounting to around Rs 2,000 crore. The Council gave the nod for indigenous development and production of main gun 125-mm Armour Piercing Fin Stabilised Discarding-Sabot ammunition for T-72/T-90 tanks. It also approved the procurement of Mechanical Mine Layer (Self-Propelled), developed by DRDO and the Indian industry.

(With inputs from PTI)