The South Asian Times

20 January 2018 23:47 PM

Singapore Defence Minister flies in Tejas, lauds fighter

By IANS

Kolkata, Nov 28: Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on Tuesday flew in India's indigenous fighter aircraft Tejas, and called it a "very good plane".

"Privileged to be flown on the Tejas, India's own designed and manufactured fighter aircraft. A very good plane," the Singapore minister said in a tweet.

Ng was flown in the plane at the Indian Air Force Station in Kalaikunda (West Bengal), the Defence Ministry said. The flight, around half-an-hour long, was piloted by Air Vice Marshal A.P. Singh, the Project Director, Flight Testing at the Aeronautical Development Agency.

Two Tejas aircraft were flown in from Bengalure to Kalaikunda, where a joint training is on between the IAF and Republic of Singapore Air Force, which has flown in six F-16C/Ds. The IAF has fielded its Sukhoi-30 fighter jets.

Ng, on a day's visit to Kalaikunda, was received at the air base by Eastern Air Command chief, Air Marshal Anil Khosla.

Talking to reporters at the airbase, he called Tejas an "excellent aircraft" and said it is "very impressive".

He however did not confirm if Singapore has expressed any interest in buying the fighter.

"I am not a pilot... it is for the technical people to take a call on it," he said.

Ng, who is on a tour to India, will arrive in New Delhi on Wednesday to hold second Singapore-India Defence Ministers' Dialogue with his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman.

An official statement from the Singapore Defence Ministry said Ng thanked the Indian Government for providing realistic and challenging training opportunities for the RSAF to hone its operational readiness.

"(It was) very impressive, and this is the reason why our air force trains with your (Indian) air force. Your pilots are superb, planes (are) equally good, and the RSAF gets immeasurable value from training here with you, and (with) experienced pilots like you. We have been having bilateral air exercises since 2004, and I hope that these bilateral exercises will last very long," he said.

The statement added that the bilateral training has grown in scale and complexity over the years to involve advanced aircraft and high-end training missions such as Dissimilar Air Combat Training and Mission-Oriented Training.

In January this year, India and Singapore had renewed an agreement for RSAF to continue its joint military training with IAF for another five years. Under the agreement, the RSAF will have regular opportunities to train with the IAF's advanced Su-30 fighters.

The agreement between the two air forces was signed first in 2007 and renewed in 2012.

Update: 28 Nov, 2017

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