Wonderful, says buoyant Sitharaman after Sukhoi sortie

Def min more likely to fly sortie in Sukhoi-30

Creating history yet again, Sitharaman on Wednesday (17 January) donned the uniform and became the first woman defence minister of India to fly a sortie in an IAF Sukhoi (Su-30 MKI) fighter aircraft. "It was a memorable experience".

The supersonic jet took off from the Air Force station at Jodhpur, where one of the Sukhoi squadrons is based, at 1 pm, rose to a height of 8000 metres and broke the sound barrier. She is not the only minister to have undertaken such a sortie.

In June 2003, then Defence Minister George Fernandes put on the flying suit and took off in a Su-30 fighter jet from Lohegaon Air Force Station near Pune.

This is not the first time that she has taken first-hand stock of the preparedness of the Indian armed forces.

A G-suit is a flight-specific suit worn by pilots of jet fighters while flying.

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IAF sources said Sitharaman would visit the Jodhpur airbase, during which she would fly the sortie in the frontline fighter jet.

BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy. a trained pilot, flew a Su-30 in February 2015 at the Aero India show in Bengaluru.

These visits go a long way in enhancing the motivation of the defence personnel as they get an opportunity to personally interact with the minister herself.

Owing to its versatile capabilities, Su-30 MKI forms an integral and the most potent component of our nation's Air Power.

The BrahMos supersonic Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) was successfully test fired from the formidable fighter jet against a sea-based target in the Bay of Bengal in November previous year.

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