Global Watch

PV Sindhu Becomes First Woman To Fly In Teja LCA

RIO  Olympic medallist and India’s prominent badminton face  P V Sindhu  added another  achievement to her illustrious career by becoming  the first  woman to  fly in India’s  indigenously made Teja light combat  aircraft on Friday. Defence Ministry headed by its first ever full -fledged lady Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had desired to felicitate women achievers in aerospace. The two hours of morning flying — 10 am to noon — at the Yelahanka air base was dominated by women. Hyderabad born Badminton star Sindhu became the first woman to fly the Light Combat Aircraft with the official Twitter handle of DRDO, the designer of the plane, sending out congratulations to the shuttler after she did a 40- minute sortie. It was a medium altitude flight, IAF officials later said. IAF said a flight like this would have Sindhu experiencing 4 to 5 G-force. The maximum for humans is 9. G-force is the gravitational force experienced by pilots when a fighter jet takes off and flies at sonic speeds. Squadron Leader Sneha Kulkarni has been flying in her helicopter as part of ‘Sarang’, IAF’s dare-devil  aerobatic display team.  The air traffic control was also handed over to the women officers  Squadron Ldr Siju Unnikrishan, Squadron Ldr Kanupriya Rana, Flight Lt Angel Dutta and Flight Lt Kriti Bhatnagar  .Dressed in orange overalls, six women officers, led by Wing Cdr Asha Jyothirmai, did a para jump. Other officers on the team were Wing Cdr Sangita Paulraj, Squadron Ldr Seema Sheoran, Squadron Ldr Isha Gill, Flight Lt Remya and Flying Officer Tuhina Gaur.Flying Officer Mohana Singh, who is among the first three women fighter pilots, flew the Hawk jet.  Three IAF pilots who fly the Dornier surveillance plane —  Squadron Ldr Kamaljeet Kaur and her co-pilot Squadron Ldr Rakhi Bhandari — did an over flight. Squadron Ldr Shruti Chauhan flew another Dornier. Chetak helicopter was flown by Flight Lt Amandeep Kaur, Flight Lt Sindhu Reddy and Squadron Ldr Khushboo Gupta.Meanwhile, Dr G Satheesh Reddy,  Secretary, Defence Research and Development, and also Chairman of DRDO, said, “The FOC for Tejas is a landmark for the country. From here on, we can produce faster (jets).”  The design for the Medium Weight Fighter (MWF) is ready. The prototype will be ready by 2021-end,” the senior defence scientist added. Sindhu, who is among the youngest to co-pilot the HAL-manufactured fighter jet, waved as she climbed into the two-seater trainer variant of the aircraft. Describing her experience, the ace badminton player later told reporters she was privileged to have taken this flight. “It was definitely a great experience, great opportunity and I am really honoured. The captain showed me all the manoeuvres,” she said at the Yelahanka air base. Sindhu flew in Tejas with Wing Commander Siddharth Singh in the front seat flying the aircraft for most of sortie. “She could quickly adapt to the height and speed. We carried out some attacks at a dam nearby. She flew for about 5 minutes herself,” the wing commander Singh added. The HAL Tejas is an Indian single-engine, multirole light fighter designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy. It came from the Light Combat Aircraft programme, which began in the 1980s to replace India’s ageing MiG-21 fighters. It has top speed: 2,205 km/h with range: 3,000 km.Unit cost: 31,000,000–31,090,000 USD (2009).IAF and  Indian Navy have appreciated its performance and decided to induct the aircraft.

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