If the Americans don't play spoilsport, an Indian Air Chief may become the first in history to get into the cockpit of an F-16 fighter aircraft and take it for a spin in the skies.
Air Chief S Krishnaswamy could be presented this opportunity when he visits Tel Aviv on September 4 at the invitation of Israel's Vice Chief of Defence Staff Dan Halutz.
Sources said Krishnaswamy, who holds a test pilot licence and has flown the Mirage-2000 and Sukhoi-30, will be visiting two Israeli Air Force bases in course of his trip. This is when he could get his chance to get behind the controls of an American F-16.
The only thing that stands in the way of the Air Chief donning his fighter gear in Israel is a green light from the Americans.
Apart from flying, Krishnaswamy will review the progress of the $3 billion PHALCON AWACS deal for which an agreement was signed between India, Israel and Russia last year. India is seeking to fit the PHALCON on three IL-76 transport aircraft, even as Pakistan seeks to buy AWACS from Sweden.
In his capacity as Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee, Krishnaswamy may also get a peek at the Soltam 155 howitzer. This is among the guns the Indian Army is currently examining and the contract could be worth Rs 5000 crore.
Krishnasswamy's visit to Israel comes on the heels of one made by Army Vice Chief Lt General Shantanu Chaudhary in June this year and another by Navy Chief Admiral Arun Prakash in July. Obviously, despite its support for the Palestinian cause, the UPA government is keeping the Indo-Israeli defence relationship as warm as ever.