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By Our Correspondent: Kalaikunda, Nov. 28: Singapore defence minister Ng Eng Hen on Tuesday described Tejas, India's first indegenously-built light combat aircraft (LCA), as 'very excellent and impressive' after flying it for a sortie as a first-ever civilian foreigner amidst prospect that Singapore may buy the fighter aircraft from India for its air force. According to him, Tejas is also a "very capable aircraft." Sharing his flying experience of Tejas of around 45 minutes at the Kalaikunda Air Force station in West Midnapore of West Bengal, Mr Hen showered lavish praise on Indian Air Force (IAF) Air Vice Marshal A P Singh, project director (flight test) at the National Flight Test Centre of the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) who was his pilot. He arrived in New Delhi on Monday to hold the second Singapore-India defence ministers’ dialogue with Indian defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Mr Hen visited the airbase where a contingent of Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) with fighter aircrafts like F-16s is taking part in the routine annual joint military training with the IAF and interacted with them. Air Officer Commanding in Chief (Eastern Air Command) Air Marshal Anil Khosla was present there. Three Tejas aircrafts (trainer version) stole the show by performing aerial displays. Mr Hen said, "It was very excellent and impressive experience. That is the reason why our air force gets trained by the IAF. The pilots are superb. The aircrafts are pretty good. We earn measureable value in the training with the IAF." He also tweeted, "Privileged to be flown on the #Tejas, India's own designed and manufactured fighter aircraft. A very good plane. #fighteraircraft @IAF_MCC" Asked if Singapore eyes to buy Tejas Mr Hen did not rule out the possibility however. "Our bilateral ties is very strong. It is going stronger. I am scheduled to the dialogue with Ms Sitharaman. Tejas is a very capable aircraft. I am not a pilot who can speak about it. Honestly speaking the flying experience was liking riding in a car," Mr Hen observed. A senior official of the Defence Research and Development Organisation who was present at the event indicated on anonymity that the three Tejas aircrafts were flown in to the training to allow Mr Hen to have a first-hand experience as Singapore has shown signs of a potential buyer recently. He noted, "It was a kind of marketing opportunity for us to showcase our indegenous product. But it is a long process to finalise any deal."
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