SAC chief co-pilots Tejas, reviews project

SAC chief co-pilots Tejas, reviews project
Air Marshal B Suresh (right), Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Air Command. Photo: IAF

Bengaluru: Air Marshal B Suresh, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Air Command (SAC) headquartered at Thiruvananthapuram flew into the elite list of aviators to have flown or co-piloted the desi fighter Light Combat Aircraft, Tejas.

Air Marshal Suresh co-piloted a twin-seater variant of Tejas which was piloted by Group Captain R Joshi, a Test Pilot with the National Flight Test Centre here.

The senior IAF official is on a on a three-day visit to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to review the production facilities of Tejas.

His review comes close on the heels of a parliamentary committee headed by Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge expressing serious concern over HAL’s failure to provide deliver Tejas in numbers to the IAF.

Ministry of Defence officials said that during the visit, Air Marshal interacted with HAL top brass touching upon key production issues.

He also visited the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) of IAF, the Helicopter Complex of HAL, the National Flight Test Centre (NFTC) and the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA).

At ADA, Air Marshal Suresh was updated about future variants of LCA and the ongoing weapon integration plans.

As reported by Onmanorama extensively earlier, the No 45 Squadron Flying Daggers operating the Tejas is based out of Air Force Station Sulur, falling under the purview of SAC.

HAL on its part have put the production plans on priority at two of its facilities in Bengaluru.

They are hoping to beat the March 2019 deadline and deliver remaining four more remaining Tejas fighters to IAF.

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