Aero India 2019: Army chief General Bipin Rawat takes sortie in made-in-India Tejas fighter jet. Watch

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New Delhi | Updated: February 23, 2019 8:04 AM

Tejas combat jets have been built by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), which is in the eye of the storm as the opposition targets the Narendra Modi government over the Rafale deal row. Aero India also witnessed a tragedy this year when a pilot of the Surya Kiran aerobatic team died after a mid-air collision during rehearsal this week.

Aero India 2019, bengaluru, Army chief, General Bipin Rawat, sortie, made in india rafale deal, Tejas fighter jet, Pokhran, tejas video, rajasthan, Tejas capabilities, tejas flying Source: ANI

Army chief General Bipin Rawat today sat alongside the pilot in the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas as the jet sped away into the skies over the Yelahanka Air Force Station. The Army chief sat behind the pilot and went for the aerial tour on the outskirts of Bengaluru where the Aero India show is underway.

This marked the first time when General Rawat flew in the India-made fighter jet, known for being the smallest and lightest multirole supersonic fighter jet in its class.

The Tejas was cleared after undertaking air-to-ground attacks and air-to-air refuelling at IAF’s Vayu Shakti air display in Rajasthan’s Pokhran last week, Air Marshal Dhanoa told media on Wednesday.

After taking the 30-minute sortie in the jet, General Rawat told reporters, “I think it’s a wonderful aircraft. I would like to thank Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa for making this happen. We did some normal manoeuvres and the experience was great. The LCA’s targeting systems are very good.”

Tejas combat jets have been built by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), which is in the eye of the storm as the opposition targets the Narendra Modi government over the Rafale deal row. Aero India also witnessed a tragedy this year when a pilot of the Surya Kiran aerobatic team died after a mid-air collision during rehearsal this week.

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Principal Scientific Advisor to the government, PS Raghavan, will also be taking a sortie in the LCA Tejas jet later in the day, reported news agency, ANI.

The LCA Tejas is a lightweight aircraft with a short range but can carry the same range of modern weaponry which larger warplanes carry. These range from precision-guided and standoff weaponry to ‘beyond visual range’ missiles that take down enemy planes from within a safe distance.

Among the big names from the government, military officers and defence investors, hundreds of civilians are also making their way to watch the Aero India showcasing powerful jets and aerial aerobatic displays. The event will continue for five days and will conclude on February 25.

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Not many are aware that the logo of the Aero India 2019 which is made up of a triangle in the colours of the Indian national flag has been inspired by the LCA Tejas, the organisers confirmed on the official website.

Held every two years, the Aero India exhibition and air show is considered as a premier aerospace exhibition. So far, it has had 11 successful editions since 1996, the same year the country signed a deal with a Russian plane-maker to purchase the heavy multirole fighter jet Sukhoi-30MKI.

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