In a move that is widely seen as an attempt to push the Tejas programme, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has appointed Air Cmde Raghunathan Nambiar as the Commandant of Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE), Bangalore. Nambiar is likely to take charge today as the 20th Commandant of ASTE, picking up his next rank as an Air Vice Marshal (AVM). Nambiar, popularly known as Nambi, was among the first Test pilots associated with the Tejas programme. During the maiden flight of Tejas on January 4, 2001, it was Nambiar who flew the lead chase Mirage aircraft, keeping a close watch on the Technology Demonstrator (TD-1), piloted by Wg Cdr Rajeev Kothiyal, now a commercial pilot and consultant to the National Civil Aircraft Development programme. Nambi's predecessor Air Cmde B.R. Krishna is likely to be joining the National Defence College for a one-year course.
(Detailed report in The New Indian Express, tomorrow)