Olympic silver-medallist and shuttler PV Sindhu became the first woman to co-pilot LCA Tejas at Aero India show in Bengaluru on February 23. Wearing a green uniform, Sindhu did a 40-minute sortie and reportedly pulled through 5G of force. She even piloted the flight for a short duration under the guidance of Wing Commander Sidharth Singh. Sindhu flew the trainer version of Tejas’ fifth prototype (PV-5).
In a press conference, she said,
“It’s a great feeling. I’m honoured to have taken this flight. The captain showed me a couple of manoeuvres. Special thanks to DRDO for making this possible. Women’s Day celebrations at the expo gave me this opportunity and I will remember this forever.”
Built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Tejas is India’s first indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). It’s a single-engine, multirole light fighter that will replace the ageing Jaguar & MiG-21 fleet of Indian Air Force. Tejas had been given final clearance for operations on Wednesday. The Final Operational Clearance (FOC) signals the aircraft is combat ready.
The Tejas had flown on the first day of the Aero India show, along with an IAF Jaguar and a Sukhoi 30 Mki in a special formation as a tribute to a pilot who died during a trial run a day before.