New Delhi: Indian Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria flew the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas fighter on Wednesday with the 45 Squadron at Air Force Station Sulur near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. This will be the first major event for the IAF since the outbreak of COVID-19.
with this the Air Chief operationalised the 18 Squadron ‘Flying Bullets’ of the Indian Air Force.A The Squadron is equipped with LCA Tejas aircraft with full operational capability (FOC) and is the second IAF Squadron to fly LCA Tejas.
The 18 Squadron will also have 20 jets in FOC version with 16 fighters and 4 trainers.
The 18 Squadron was formed on April 15, 1965 with the motto ‘Teevra aur Nirbhaya’ meaning ‘Swift and Fearless’. The Squadron was flying MiG 27 aircraft before it got number plated on April 15, 2016. The Squadron was resurrected on April 1, this year at Sulur.
The squadron actively participated in the 1971 War with Pakistan and was decorated with the highest gallantry award ‘Param Vir Chakra’ awarded to Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon posthumously.
It earned the sobriquet of ‘Defenders of Kashmir Valley’ by being the first to land and operate from Srinagar. The Squadron was presented with President’s Standard in November 2015.
Tejas is an indigenous fourth generation tailless compound delta wing aircraft.
The aircraft is equipped with fly-by-wire flight control system, integrated digital avionics, multimode radar and its structure is made out of composite material.
It is the lightest and smallest in its group of fourth generation supersonic combat aircraft.
Several advance technologies have been incorporated into the Tejas FOC including Air-to-Air refuelling and Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile system to make the fighter a potent platform.
The IAF already operates 20 Tejas jets in Initial Operation Clearance (IOC) in the 45 Squadron.