General David L Goldfein, Chief of Staff of US Air Force will fly on India’s indigenous light combat aircraft, the Tejas, this morning, a special flight that will take off from the Jodhpur Air Force Station that signals the soaring ties between the two air forces.
The 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 wrote in a Facebook post shortly after being welcomed at Air Headquarters in the national capital.
He also referred to the IAF’s acquisition of the C-17 Globemaster 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.
Last November, Ng Eng Hen, the Defence Minister of the island nation of Singapore had gone on a sortie from the Kalaikunda airbase in West Bengal . “I am not a pilot,” he had later said, “but I can say it felt… really smooth”.
A highly skilled pilot with 4,200 flying hours, the Chief Of Staff of US Air Force has flown combat missions in operations during the Gulf War, Afghanistan and the erstwhile Yugoslavia. It was during one of these missions over Serbia back in 1999 when his fighter jet was hit by a surface-to air missile. He successfully ejected and was rescued.
In December last year, the government paved the way for the manufacture of 83 indigenous Tejas Mk-1A Light Combat aircraft by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The deal is likely to be worth close to 60,000 crores and would be among the largest ever deals the government has sanctioned for the domestic arms sector, a huge boost for the government’s ‘Make in India’ defence manufacturing program.
By : NDTV