USAF chief Gen Goldfein takes India's Tejas out for a spin

In a sign of a strengthening defence relationship between US and India, Chief of Staff of the US Air Force General David L Goldfein on Saturday flew the 'Made in India' light combat aircraft Tejas at the Air Force Station in Jodhpur.

Goldfein arrived in India on Thursday, on a visit to boost defence ties between the two nations.

Shortly after he boarded the aircraft, the Indian Air Force (IAF) in a tweet said, ''General David L Goldfein, Chief of Staff of the US Air Force, is on an official visit to India. He flew a sortie in 'Made in India' LCA Tejas aircraft at AF Stn Jodhpur today.''

Goldfein became the first foreign military chief to fly Tejas aircraft. In November last year, the Defence Minister of Singapore, Ng Eng Hen was flown in a Tejas.

The Tejas is a single-seat, single-jet engine multirole light fighter. Indigenously developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency and produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, it is a fourth-generation aircraft that can fly at 1,350 km per hour with a payload capacity of 4,000 kg.

General Goldfein was given a guard of honour on his arrival at Air Force headquarters in New Delhi. He was accompanied by General Terrence O'Shaughnessy, Commander of the US Pacific Air Force. The US officials interacted with Indian Air Force chief B S Dhanoa.

Acknowledging that the IAF operates the world's second-largest US-made C-17 fleet, General David L Goldfein in a tweet said, ''Grateful for the welcome reception from @IAF_MCC. We look forward to deepening the relationship between our two air forces.''

He later tweeted, ''Had many great meetings with our @IAF_MCC partners to deepen the relationship between our two air forces. The IAF operates the second largest C-17 fleet in the world & continues to mature their fleet.

''We take pride in having helped @IAF_MCC strengthen their air mobility capabilities provided by their C-17 and C-130J fleets.''

He also tweeted, ''I'm also very proud of the strong ongoing relationship forged between the @IAF_MCC and the Rhode Island Air National Guard's 143rd Airlift Wing.''