Kiren Ri­jiju graces Su-30MKI

From the IAF per­spec­tive, it does help if the po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship is fa­mil­iarised with the front­line ac­tiv­i­ties and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties that IAF per­son­nel shoul­der and the haz­ards they face

SP's MAI - - FRONT PAGE - —By Air Mar­shal B.K. Pandey (Retd)

In re­sponse to the in­vi­ta­tion by Air Chief Mar­shal Arup Raha, Chief of the Air Staff, on May 18, 2016, Union Min­is­ter of State for Home Af­fairs Kiren Ri­jiju joined the list of dig­ni­taries who have hon­oured the In­dian Air Force (IAF) by fly­ing in the cock­pit of front line com­bat air­craft in ser­vice. The list of dig­ni­taries who have un­der­taken sim­i­lar flights ear­lier on in­cludes lu­mi­nar­ies such as the Pres­i­dent of In­dia Pratibha Patil fol­lowed by Dr A.P.J. Ab­dul Kalam. Other dig­ni­taries who have flown in fighter air­craft are the for­mer De­fence Min­is­ter Ge­orge Fer­nan­des, Rao In­der­jit Singh, Min­is­ter of State for De­fence, and Ra­jiv Pratap Rudy, cur­rently Union Min­is­ter of State for Skill De­vel­op­ment and En­trepreneur­ship.

VVIPs reg­u­larly fly as pas­sen­gers on board trans­port air­craft and he­li­copters of the IAF ap­pro­pri­ately mod­i­fied for VVIP travel. But fly­ing in the cock­pit of a fighter air­craft is a dif­fer­ent ket­tle of fish! From the per­spec­tive of the IAF, it does help if the po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship is fa­mil­iarised with the front line ac­tiv­i­ties and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties that IAF per­son­nel shoul­der and the haz­ards that they face. A lot younger in age com­pared to some of the other dig­ni­taries men­tioned above and per­haps the youngest, the 44-year-old Union Min­is­ter of State look­ing re­splen­dent in a G-suit that fighter pi­lots wear, oc­cu­pied the rear cock­pit of the Su-30MKI at Air Force Sta­tion Hal­wara, a ma­jor fighter base in Pun­jab. Hav­ing com­pleted all med­i­cal clear­ance for­mal­i­ties, Kiren Ri­jiju flew with a highly ex­pe­ri­enced fighter pi­lot in the su­per­sonic jet for about 30 min­utes. Af­ter land­ing, the Union Min­is­ter of State for Home Af­fairs said, “Fly­ing in the Su-30 has brought me closer to the IAF team at Air Force Sta­tion Hal­wara. My sa­lute to brave pi­lots for se­cur­ing our sky”.

The Su-30MKI fleet is now the main­stay of the com­bat fleet of the IAF. Of the 272 air­craft or­dered, the IAF has in­ducted 210 so far. It is un­der­stood that the IAF is to place or­ders for an­other 40 such plat­forms tak­ing the fleet strength to 312 once de­liv­ery of the to­tal or­der is com­pleted.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.