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U.S. air chief flies on Tejas

The Chief of Staff of USAF, Gen. David L. Goldfein, at the Air Force Station in Jodhpur on Saturday.Special Arrangement

The Chief of Staff of USAF, Gen. David L. Goldfein, at the Air Force Station in Jodhpur on Saturday.Special Arrangement  

First service head of a foreign country to make such a sortie

Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein flew on India’s indigenously built light combat aircraft (LCA), Tejas, on Saturday. He is the first air chief of a foreign country to fly on the Tejas.

“The sortie was undertaken in the morning from the Jodhpur Air Force Station and lasted approximately 40 minutes. The jet was piloted by Air Vice-Marshal A.P. Singh, Principal Director, Flight Testing, at the National Flight Test Centre,” an Indian Air Force officer said.

Last year, Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen took a sortie on the LCA and called it a “superb plane.”

Gen. Goldfein is on an official visit to India and has already held discussions in New Delhi including with his Indian counterpart Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa. He is accompanied by General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Air Force.

The visit of two top officers of the USAF, another first, comes at a time when the IAF is getting ready to float a global tender for a single-engine fighter. F-16 of the U.S. is competing with Gripen of SAAB for the multi-billion dollar deal.

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