Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman buckled up and became the second Indian woman leader to go on a sortie on a Sukhoi 30 fighter jet on Wednesday. She strapped herself into a G-suit and also wore a helmet with an oxygen mask before she took off the two-seater twin-engine supersonic fighter jet from an air base in Jodhpur. The G-suit ensures comfort when the jet takes tight turns.
Glimpses of Hon’ble Raksha Mantri Smt @nsitharaman visit to AFS Jodhpur, frontline #IAF base of the WesternSector. During the visit, she flew a sortie in SU30MKI, today & became the first woman DefenceMinister of India to fly a sortie in an IAF SU-30 FighterAircraft. #RakshaMantriFliesSukhoi
The twin-jet fighter was developed by Russia's Sukhoi and built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. Earlier, former Presidents Pratibha Patil and Abdul Kalam have also flown in the fighter. The Sukhoi-30 MKI has nuclear strike capability and can penetrate deep into enemy territory. This move came from the Defence Ministry to take stock of the operational preparedness and combat capabilities of the Indian Air Force (IAF). As the first woman to become the Defence Minister of India, Sitharaman has spent a lot of time and effort in understanding the operations of Army, Air Force and Navy. A few days back, she went on board the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya to observe the operations of the MiG-29 fighter and other Naval exercises.