Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh (File)
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will fly in indigenously-built light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas from the HAL airport in Bengaluru on Thursday, said a senior official on Tuesday. He will be the first defence minister to fly in this aircraft. Last Friday in Goa, Tejas had successfully carried out an "arrested landing", a key performance demonstrating its ability to land on board an aircraft carrier, making it a major milestone in development of the naval variant of the fighter jet.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has already inducted a batch of Tejas aircraft. The naval version of the LCA is in development stage.
"The minister will fly a sortie in the twin-seater version of Tejas on Thursday. He will be flying from HAL airport in Bengaluru," an official from the Defence Ministry said.
On Thursday, Singh would also be attending an exhibition of products of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Bengaluru, he said.
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.