Defence Minister Sitharaman Flies In Sukhoi Jet In 45-Minute Sortie

India's first woman defence minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, who flew in a Sukhoi 30 jet today, has spent a lot of time travelling to Army, Air Force and Navy bases to understand their operations. Former Presidents Pratibha Patil and Abdul Kalam had also flown on the fighter planes earlier.


Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman went on a 45-minute sortie in a Sukhoi-30 fighter jet.

New Delhi: 


  1. Nirmala Sitharaman took a 45-minute sortie on a Sukhoi-30
  2. The aircraft took off from the Jodhpur Air Force Station In Rajasthan
  3. Earlier, the minister was onboard aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman strapped herself into a G-suit today and became the second Indian woman leader to go on a sortie on a Sukhoi-30 fighter jet. The supersonic jet took off for the 45-minute ride from the Jodhpur Air Force station this morning. After landing, the 58-year-old minister said the experience was "eye-opening and memorable".

A video from inside the Sukhoi showed the minister waving before the take-off and then the ground falling away rapidly. A Sukhoi-30 is capable of achieving a maximum speed of 2,100 km an hour --- nearly four times more than a commercial airliner.

The plane crossed the speed of Mach 1 and rose to an altitude of 8000 metres, she pointed out. "So, in a way, (it went) higher than Mount Everest and crossed the speed of sound. It just shows the excellence in our fighter pilots' training," news agency Press Trust of India quoted her as saying.
nirmala sitharaman

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman took off on Sukhoi-30 fighter jet from Jodhpur.

In 2003, then defence minister George Fernandes became the first VIP to take a fighter sortie. Three years later, former President APJ Abdul Kalam also took the fighter jet - the first President of India to do so. Both of them were in their early 70s.

Former President Pratibha Patil was the first woman and at the 75, the oldest person to ride the fighter jet in 2009. Junior defence minister Rao Inderjit Singh, BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Union minister Kiren Rijiju also belong to the elite list.
nirmala sitharaman sukhoi

Nirmala Sitharaman was the second woman leader after Pratibha Patil to fly on a fighter jet.

After the sortie, Ms Sitharaman said she was "very proud and thankful" for the experience. "It actually tells me with what rigor, practice, what level of readiness & how quickly they (the defence personnel) have to respond to situations," she said.

As India's first woman defence minister, Ms Sitharaman has spent a lot of time travelling to Army, Air Force and Navy bases to understand their operations. A few days ago, she was onboard the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya in the Arabian sea to witness the operations of the MiG-29 fighter off the deck of the ship and other Naval exercises.  

nirmala sitharaman sukhoi

Nirmala Sitharaman called her Sukhoi-30 ride an "eye-opening and memorable experience".

For the sortie, Ms Sitharaman wore a flight overall and a G-Suit, or anti-gravity suit, which ensures comfort when the jet takes tight turns. She also wore a helmet with an oxygen mask. The minister took the rear seat of the fighter jet, which was being piloted by Group Captain Sumit Garg. Communication was maintained through intercom.

The twin-jet fighter was developed by Russia's Sukhoi and built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the Indian Air Force.

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