Bengaluru: Defence minister Rajnath Singh flew in the Tejas fighter aircraft from the HAL airport in Bengaluru on Thursday. He became the first defence minister to fly in the indigenously-built light combat aircraft (LCA).

Singh, 68, was accompanied by Air Vice Marshal N Tiwari, who is also the Project Director, National Flight Test Centre, ADA (Aeronautical Development Agency) in Bengaluru. 

Rajnath Singh termed his flight "exhilarating" and "amazing" and also hailed the pilots for their bravery.

A Defence Ministry official had said on Wednesday that the minister would be "taking a sortie" in order to boost the morale of officers who have been involved in the development of "indigenously-made Tejas". "It will also boost the morale of IAF pilots who are flying these aircraft," the official said.

The IAF has already inducted a batch of Tejas aircraft. The naval version of the LCA is in development stage.

Last Friday in Goa, Tejas had successfully carried out an "arrested landing", a key performance demonstrating its ability to land on board an aircraft carrier, making it a major milestone in the development of the naval variant of the fighter jet.

Singh would also be attending an exhibition of the products of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Bengaluru on Thursday, he had said.

Initially, the IAF had placed an order with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for 40 Tejas aircraft. Last year, the IAF issued the request for proposal (RFP) to HAL for the procurement of another batch of 83 Tejas at a cost of over Rs 50,000 crore.