New Delhi: ‘Flying was smooth and comfortable, I was enjoying it’, said Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh after finishing 30-minute sortie in homemade light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas in Bengaluru. Notably, Singh on Thursday created history by becoming the first Defence Minister to fly LCA Tejas. The fighter jet, a twin-seater trainer aircraft, took off from the airport of defence public sector unit Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in Bengaluru at 9.58 AM.

“We can now export Tejas to other countries too. I’m very thrilled, it was a very special experience in life for me.  I want to congratulate HAL, DRDO and several concerned agencies. We have reached a level where we can export fighter planes across the world”, Singh asserted while speaking to reporters.

Meanwhile, Air Vice Marshal N Tiwari, Project Director, National Flight Test Centre, ADA (Aeronautical Development Agency), who accompanied the Singh to the 30-minute sortie informed the reporters that the Defence Minister was very happy with flying quality of the aircraft (LCA Tejas). “We went close to Mark 1, the speed of sound”, he added.

Later, DRDO Chief Dr G Satheesh Reddy also acquanited that Singh ‘controlled and flew the Tejas for sometime’. To which the Defence Minister said,”Koi problem nahi, jaise-jaise N Tiwari batate rahe, waise-waise mein karta raha”.

Singh’s 30-minute sortie in Tejas comes nearly a week after the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) successfully carried out the first-ever ‘arrested landing’ of Tejas at a shore-based test facility in Goa.