India Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed confidence in the country’s fighter aircraft manufacturing capability after flying a sortie in a twin-seat light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas on Saturday.
Modi’s flight—reportedly the first for an Indian prime minister in a fighter jet—comes in the wake of the Indian Air Force (IAF) taking delivery of its first LCA Tejas fighter, produced by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), in October.
In a video released by the prime minister’s office, Modi is seen outfitted in a flight suit, walking up a set of red-carpeted stairs before climbing into the rear seat of the fighter and giving a thumbs-up.
“Successfully completed a sortie on the Tejas,” Modi later said on X, formerly known as Twitter. “The experience was incredibly enriching, significantly bolstering my confidence in our country’s indigenous capabilities, and leaving me with a renewed sense of pride and optimism about our national potential.”
Successfully completed a sortie on the Tejas. The experience was incredibly enriching, significantly bolstering my confidence in our country's indigenous capabilities, and leaving me with a renewed sense of pride and optimism about our national potential. pic.twitter.com/4aO6Wf9XYO— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 25, 2023
The LCA Tejas is an all-weather, multirole 4.5 generation fighter designed for offensive air support and close combat and ground attack, according to HAL. The single-seat variants are under production for the IAF and Indian Navy. The twin-seat variant is designed to support fighter pilot training.
“LCA Tejas is a versatile platform. It has been operationally deployed with the IAF and will be the mainstay of [the] IAF fighter fleet in years to come,” HAL said. “This visit has motivated HAL to rededicate itself to work toward fulfilling the Atamanirbharta [“self-reliant India”] goals of our country. HAL will continually strive for achieving excellence in indigenisation and self-reliance in [the] aerospace and defense sector.”