Kalam undertakes Sukhoi sortie
The Prez undertook a historic sortie in Sukhoi-30 MKI, the Indian Air Force's latest supersonic fighter aircraft.Updated: Jun 08, 2006 13:57 IST
After his maiden submarine voyage, APJ Abdul Kalam on Thursday became the first President to undertake a historic 30-minute sortie on the IAF's Sukhoi-30 MKI, flying at supersonic speed.
With 75-year-old Kalam, who is also Supreme Commander of Armed forces, sitting in the cockpit in pilot's G-suit, Wing Commander Ajay Rathore, Commanding Officer of the SU-30 MKI squadron flew him to a height of about 25,000 feet before returning to the Lohegaon Airbase.
Following the 30-minute flight in the latest all-weather air dominance supersonic fighter, a beaming President came out of the jet and shook hands with senior IAF officers present there.
Two Sukhois accompanied Kalam and the President was shown how to locate the target in the air and on the ground with the help of radar, Air Commodore M Banerjee said.
Kalam was given certain instructions by senior Air Force officials before the take off.
The President, who had undertaken a submarine voyage in February, flew at a height of six to eight kms (approximately 25,000 feet) in the air, Banerjee said.
He later watched a mock fight involving ten Sukhois and three Jaguars.
On his arrival at the Airbase earlier, the President was received by Air Marshal Ajit Bhavnani, Vice Chief of the air (VCAS), Air Marshal P K Mehta, Air Officer Commanding in-Chief, South Western Air Command (SWAC) and Air Commodore M Banerjee, Air Officer Commanding Air Force Base, Pune.
Air Warriors of the airbase presented a ceremonial guard of honour to the President at the lightning squadron tarmac.