Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh looked visibly pleased after the landmark sortie of Light Combat Aircraft Tejas at Indian Air Force’s Bengaluru airbase on Thursday. ‘I am very thrilled, it was a very comfortable flight. It was one of the most memorable moments of my life,’ Singh said after the 30-minute sortie. He also said that he always wanted to fly in Tejas as it was an indigenously built aircraft. Lauding the India’s military aviation sector, Singh said that, ‘today, we are in a position where other countries are giving us order for Tejas.’ “I was enjoying. I want to congratulate HAL, DRDO several concerned agencies. We have reached a level where we can export fighter planes across the world,” Singh further said.
The IAF has already inducted a batch of Tejas aircraft. The naval version of the LCA is in development stage. 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. After the sortie, 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 Tejas is an indigenous light weight, multi role supersonic aircraft developed in both fighter and trainer versions. The Tejas is designed to carry a veritable plethora of air-to-air, air-to- surface, precision guided and standoff weaponry.