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Kalam to fly in IAF's Su-30MKI combat jet

The President had expressed a desire to fly in a Su-30. The IAF then worked out the modalities.

india Updated: May 24, 2006 03:28 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

President APJ Kalam will fly in a Su-30MKI combat jet of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on June 8, it was announced in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The flight will take place between 9 am and 12 noon in a Su-30 MKI of the IAF's Pune-based 20 Squadron that celebrates its 50th anniversary June 8, said IAF spokesman Wing Commander Mahesh Upasani.

"The President had expressed a desire to fly in a Su-30. The IAF then worked out the modalities," Upasani added.

On arrival at the Pune airbase, its commander, Air Commodore Madhusudan Banjeree, will receive the President.

After inspecting a guard of honour, the President will board the combat jet, which will be piloted by Wing Commander Ajay Rathore, commanding officer of 20 Squadron.

The squadron has the rare distinction of being awarded the President's Colours. It operates the oldest -- MiG 21 -- and newest -- Su-30 MKI -- fighters in the IAF fleet.

The squadron had shot into prominence in the 1980s when it operated as the Thunderbolts aerobatic team -- the first time the IAF created a display team. The six-aircraft Thunderbolts have now graduated to the nine-aircraft Surya Kiran team.

Kalam had created history last month when he became the first Indian President to undertake a voyage in a submarine.

First Published: May 24, 2006 03:28 IST