Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the cockpit of the Tejas on November 25. Photo: Office of the Prime Minister of India

Prime Minister Modi took a flight on the Tejas light fighter produced by India and praised the domestic defense industry.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 25 posted a message supporting the domestic defense industry with a picture of him sitting on a Tejas light fighter. He shared that the flight on a domestic military aircraft “aroused pride and optimism about the nation’s potential”.

Mr. Modi experienced flying on a two-seat Tejas when visiting the facility of Hindustan Aeronautical Sciences Company (HAL) in Bengaluru, Karnataka state, southern India. In the image posted on social network X, Prime Minister Modi is wearing a pilot uniform and helmet, sitting in the co-pilot seat.

Prime Minister Modi posted information while the five states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Mizoram, and Telangana held local parliamentary elections. This series of elections is considered a test of people’s support for Mr. Modi, ahead of the 2024 general election.

The Tejas light fighter project took about 33 years of development, completed preliminary inspection in 2011, and full acceptance in 2019. The Indian Air Force has 50 aircraft in service, expected to buy a total of 324 Tejas aircraft. in three versions Mark 1, Mark 1A and Mark 2 training.

Prime Minister Modi wearing a pilot's uniform, standing in front of the HAL Tejas light fighter, in Bengaluru on November 25. Photo: Office of the Prime Minister of India

Prime Minister Modi wearing a pilot’s uniform, standing in front of the Tejas fighter in Bengaluru on November 25. Photo: Office of the Prime Minister of India

Tejas is a single-engine multi-purpose light fighter, using a monocoque delta wing design, more than 13 m long and with a wingspan of more than 8 m. The aircraft can perform aerial interception, ground raids, and anti-ship missions.

Tejas is equipped with I-Derby ER long-range air-to-air missiles with a range of 100 km and Astra missiles that can hit targets at a distance of 80-350 km, along with close-range air-to-air missiles such as R-73, Python- 5, and ASRAAM. Each Tejas is also equipped with a 23 mm GSh-23 dual-barreled automatic gun.

HAL and the US General Electric corporation in June reached an agreement to cooperate in producing engines for Tejas fighters. The Indian Ministry of Defense sets a target for defense production in 2025 to reach a total value of 26 billion USD, of which more than 5 billion USD is for export.