United States Air Force Chief of Staff General David L Goldfein flew Indian Air Force’s indigenous light combat aircraft, the Tejas during a special flight that took off from the Jodhpur Air Force Station that signals the soaring ties between the two air forces.
Indian Air Force’s combat aircraft Tejas is one of the country’s benchmark warplanes and one of US’ top ranking US military officer General David L Goldfein – along with General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, Commander of the US Pacific Air Force had reached India on Thursday on an official visit to deepen relations. The American air force chief flew a sortie in the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas on Saturday at the IAF station in Rajasthan; and was accompanied by Air vice Marshal AP Singh as co-pilot during the sortie. He was accorded a Guard of Honour at the South Block on Thursday. He also met his counterpart, Air Chief Marshal B. S. Dhanoa, and held bilateral discussions.
The US Air Force chief is the first foreign military chief to fly in the indigenous LCA, a single-seat, single-jet engine, multi-role light fighter, which is being pitched as the replacement of the ageing MIG-21 aircraft. After the flight, top ranking US military officer had reached India on Thursday on an official visit to deepen relations. “There is already a strong relationship between our two air forces and I’m looking forward to making it stronger”. He also referred to the IAF’s acquisition of the C-17 Globe-master transport aircraft that is capable of lifting tanks to the border with China and Pakistan.
“The IAF operates the second largest C-17 fleet in the world and continues to mature their fleet operation to support regional mobility needs,” the US Air Force Chief said. Indigenously developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency, and produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Tejas, a fourth generation aircraft, can fly at 1,350 km per hour, with a payload capacity of 4,000 kg. Tejas aircraft is the pride of Indian Air Force and defence department, and is recognised by international superpowers too.