The Indian Air Force will operationalise the 2nd squadron of the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft this week. Tomorrow (May 27 2020), IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria will operationalize the squadron at Sulur in Tamil Nadu. The IAF’s Number 18 Squadron, “Flying Bullets”, will be raised with Tejas aircraft in the Final Operational Configuration.
About IAF’s Number 18 Squadron- Flying Bullets
- The 18 Squadron was formed on April 15, 1965.
- It had actively participated in the 1971 India-Pakistan war
- It 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 flying the MiG 27 aircraft before it got number plated on April 15, 2016.
- The Squadron was resurrected on April 1 2020, at Sulur, Tamil Nadu
About LCA Tejas
- The IAF’s first LCA Tejas squadron, Number 45 the Flying Daggers, was raised in 2016.
- The fourth-generation Tejas has been indigenously designed by the Aircraft Development Agency (ADA) under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
- In 1984, the government of India first moved decisively to kick-start the process of building an indigenous aircraft. Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) was set up by the government to develop the programme.
- On January 4, 2001, the light combat aircraft made its first flight, a milestone in the Indian aviation industry. Then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee named the aircraft ‘Tejas’ – which means ‘radiance’ in Sanskrit.
- The aircraft is equipped to handle air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles, anti-ship missiles, bombs, and rockets.
- The aircraft’s structure is composed of 42% carbon fibre composites, 43% aluminum alloy, and the remainder titanium alloy.
- The aircraft is being developed in single-seat fighter and twin-seat trainer variants for the IAF and the Navy.
- Tejas is capable of flying non-stop to destinations over 1700 km away, and its Radius of Action is up to 500 km depending upon the nature and duration of actual combat.