India’s first woman Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman took a sortie on a Sukhoi-30 fighter jet that took off from Jodhpur Air Force station and flew towards the west of Jodhpur before returning to the base on Wednesday morning.
Sitharaman became the second Indian woman leader to take a sortie on IAF’s frontline combat jet.
Sitharaman described the 30-minutes sortie as ‘wonderful’ and said, “I am very proud and thankful. It was a memorable experience.”
Wearing a G-suit and flight overall along with helmet and oxygen mask Sitharaman sat in the rear seat behind the pilot in the fighter jet. Prior to the sortie, the defence minister was given a briefing by the fighter pilot and took some time to familiarise with the IAF’s frontline jet.
During the 30-minutes long sortie the defence minister was in constant communication with the pilot in the front through intercom.
She also met the IAF personnel at the Indian Air Force station and reviewed combat preparedness.
Prior to Sitharaman, former President Prathibha Patil and APJ Abdul Kalam had also flown in the fight jet.