Ministry of Defence08-June, 2006 17:21 IST
President undetakes Supersonic flight on IAF SU-30 MKI
The President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam today flew into the annals of military aviation history where he undertook a 40-minute sortie in a Sukhoi-30 MKI air dominance fighter of the Indian Air Force at the Air Force Base, Lohegaon near Pune.

The Supreme Commander of Armed Forces of India emerged jubiliant, relaxed and cheerful as he stepped out of the fighter cockpit and expressed happiness in having his long-standing dream of flying a fighter aircraft being fulfilled. Wg Cdr Ajay Rathore, Commanding Officer of the ‘Lightning Squadron’ operating the Su-30 MKI flew the sortie with the President as his co-pilot in the rear cockpit of the fighter aircraft.

The President who was briefed earlier on the sortie profile and cockpit layout, familiarized himself with the various switches that he was required to operate in the air before the sorties. The sortie profile included take-off and climb to 7.5 Km in an easterly direction during which the President experienced crossing of the sound barrier going supersonic and achieving a speed of 1.25 Mach.

Two Su-30 MKI’s subsequently formed up on the port and starboard of the President’s aircraft enabling him to see the aerial view of Su-30 MKI’s flying alongside. The two fighters rearranged themselves to position ahead beyond the visual range to be observed on the air-to-air radar using the ‘laser pod designator’ of the Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft. He also observed the synthetic picture of a ground target, which was the Pune air base for his sortie, which is seen by Sukhoi pilot during aerial acquisition of ground targets.

In addition to some general handling of the fighter aircraft the President also had a feel of operating the flight control himself for about five minutes during the flight. These included banks to the left and right. The President was very keen to see the performance of the indigenous equipment fitted on the aircraft. He was very happy to see the excellent functioning of the systems.

Visibly excited on deplaning from the aircraft, the President speaking to the media persons recalled that it was in the year 1958 that he tried to join the Indian Air Force. Although he could not do it then, he was extremely happy having had the opportunity to fly the most advanced fighter aircraft today. He also added that it would set an example for the youth of the nation to dare to dream. Commanding the excellent operational role of the South Western Air Command (SWAC), the President said that the Indian Air Force was the pride of the nation.

Earlier on his arrival the Air Warriors of the air base accorded the President a ceremonial Guard of Honour. On his arrival at the Lightning Squadron briefing, Air Marshal PK Mehra, AOC-in-C, SWAC welcomed the President and briefed him on the operational role of the Command.

After the sorties, the President witnessed an air show display by a combination of Su-30 MKI’s and the Jaguar Deep penetration Strike Aircraft. These included a three-aircraft arrowhead formation by the Sukhoi’s. This was followed by a mock aerial fight demonstration by two Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft. A ‘buddy refueling’ that involves mid-air refueling of a fighter aircraft from a Su-30 MKI fitted with a specially fitted buddy fuel pod was demonstrated. A simulated air raid by four pairs of Jaguar over the airfield followed that were successfully intercepted by two Su-30 MKI undertaking Combat Air Patrol (CAP) over the airfield. The piece-de-resistance was the low-level aerobatic display by a single Su-30 MKI showcasing her immense and multifarious operational capability defying most conventional aerodynamic laws.

The President later addressed all personnel of the air base and interacted with them.

(Release ID :18287)