IAF chief to fly indigenous Tejas combat jet

New Delhi, May 16 (IANS) The Indian Air Force chief, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, will fly the indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) on Tuesday, the first IAF chief to do so.

According to defence ministry sources, Air Chief Marshal Raha will be on a day-long trip to Bengaluru on Tuesday, during which he will fly the LCA.

Sources said he will also inaugurate the LCA paint hangar in Bengaluru and visit the aircraft’s production line.

Earlier, the IAF deputy chief, Air Marshal S.B.P. Singh, had flown the Tejas in September 2014.

The IAF is to buy 120 Tejas fighters from HAL, 100 of which will be further modified versions. The IAF will initially be receiving four LCAs to raise its first Tejas squadron. All together six LCAs are to be made this year.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has also said that India would also be interested in exporting the Tejas.

A proposal for doubling the production of the Tejas – from eight to 16 per annum – is being processed and around Rs. 1,259 crore will be spent on this, 50 percent by HAL (Hindustan Aeronautic Limited), 25 percent each by the IAF and the Indian Navy.

The timeline for this will be 36 months from the date of sanction.

–IANS

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