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10:26 AM, February 7, 2018
After USAF General, French AF Chief Flies In India’s LCA Tejas
After USAF General, French AF Chief Flies In India’s LCA Tejas. Image: Twitter|@IAF_MCC

The Chief of Staff of the French Air Force, General André Lanata flew the Indian Air Force’s domestically built Tejas Light Combat Aircraft on Wednesday during his visit to an Air Force station in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) in a tweet said, “The Chief of the Staff of French Air Force, General André Lanata, while on a goodwill visit to India, flew a sortie in ‘Made in India’ – LCA Tejas Aircraft at AF Station Jodhpur, today”.

He first arrived on Tuesday and took information upon the defense strength and functioning of Asia’s important Jodhpur AF Station and also took note of flying experience with the pilots, DNA reports.

Earlier, during the joint exercise of Garuda 5 between India and France in June 2014, the then chief of staff of the French Air force, Denis Mercier flew Sukhoi Su-30 MKI.

On February 3, the US Air Force Chief of Staff General David L Goldfein flew on Tejas during his visit to Jodhpur AF station.  The single-engine multi-role fighter aircraft was also earlier flown by Singaporean defense minister, Ng Eng Hen from Kalaikunda airbase in November last year.

Under development for more than three decades, the indigenous Tejas, earlier known as the Light Combat Aircraft or LCA is the first fighter jet to be built in India since the HF-24 Marut designed several decades earlier.

In December last year, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited signed an agreement for the manufacture of 83 indigenous Tejas Mk-1A Light Combat aircraft for the Indian government.  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 programme.

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