French Air Force chief takes sortie on India's indigenous Tejas
The Chief of Staff of the French Air Force, General Andre Lanata, flew a sortie on the Indian Air Force's (IAF) Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas today in Rajasthan. The two-seater aircraft took off from the Jodhpur station with Lanata in the rear seat. Last week, American Air Force General David L Goldfein had become the first foreign military chief to fly the Tejas.
Indian Air Force releases photos of Lanata's sortie
The Chief of the Staff of French Air Force, General André Lanata, while on a good will visit to India, flew a sortie in 'Made in India' - LCA #Tejas Aircraft at AF Station Jodhpur, today.@SpokespersonMoD@Armee_de_lair@Indian_Embassy pic.twitter.com/EXd45V6lMZ— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) February 7, 2018
Tejas, the world's smallest, multi-role, single-engine tactical fighter aircraft
Tejas is India's first indigenous LCA. It is the smallest, multi-role, single-engine tactical fighter aircraft in the world, developed for the IAF. While the idea was conceptualized in 1970s, actual work started in the 80s and Phase I of the project commenced in 1993. The maiden flight took place in 2001. It received its initial operational clearance in 2013 and was inducted in 2016.
IAF had commissioned five Tejas LCAs till 2017
Till last year, IAF had commissioned five Tejas LCAs of the Initial Operating Capability variant. The rest are being inducted periodically. The Mk-1A is currently under development. The first aircraft should be ready to fly by 2019. In December, IAF issued a request for proposal to HAL for 83 upgraded Mk-1A LCAs worth Rs. 60,000cr, a huge boost for the 'Make in India' initiative.
Lanata is in India to enhance bilateral defense cooperation
On Lanata's sortie, he was accompanied by Group Captain Rajesh Joshi, commander of the Jodhpur station. Lanata is in the country to discuss bilateral defense cooperation between India and France. He is accompanied by his wife. He has visited other operational units of the station too and saw other IAF aircraft, a spokesperson said. Joshi briefed him about the Jodhpur station during the sortie.