US Air Force chief to fly Tejas in Jodhpur today


New Delhi: Chief of United State Air Force will fly India’s indigenously build Light Combat Aircraft Tejas on Saturday.

This will be the first time, the head of a foreign military is flying Tejas and the move will somehow silence the critics of home grown fighter jet.

General David L Goldfein, chief of Staff of the US Air Force, who is on his visit to India, will take a sortie in LCA Tejas from Jodhpur Air Force station on Saturday morning.

Goldfein along with General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, Commander of US Pacific Air Force, landed in New Delhi on Thursday to boost military ties between the two nations and already had several rounds of discussion with key functionaries of IAF, including Air Chief Marshal BS Dhano at Air Force headquarters.

Incidentally, it is the first time top most military commanders of the US have arrived India together. In November, Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen took a half-an-hour long sortie in Tejas from Kalaikunda airbase and hailed the aircraft as “excellent and very impressive”.

LCA Tejas, an over three-decade-old project, is a single-seat, single-engine multi-role light fighter aircraft, which is yet to be combat ready as the Final Operation Clearance (FOC) that certifies a jet a battle worthy, is expected to be delivered by the end of this year to HAL, the manufacturer of the Tejas. Though in December, IAF has formally placed order for 83 Tejas aircraft with HAL, the force had sought some modifications in the aircraft.

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