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IAF Chief to operationalise second squadron of Tejas

‘Flying Bullets’, the IAF’s number 18 squadron will be raised with Tejas aircraft in the final operational configuration. The event will be held at Air Force Station, in Sulur near Coimbatore.

May 26, 2020 12:47 IST
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The Indian Air Force Chief, Marshal RKS Bhadauria, will operationalise the second squadron of the Tejas Light Combat aircraft on May 27, 2020. The IAF will operationalise the squadron at Sulur in Tamil Nadu.

‘Flying Bullets’, the IAF’s number 18 squadron will be raised with Tejas aircraft in the final operational configuration. The event will be held at Air Force Station, in Sulur near Coimbatore.

As per the statement released by IAF, the squadron will be equipped with LCA Tejas FOC Aircraft and will be the second IAF squadron to fly LCA Tejas.

About Tejas Aircraft:

The fourth-generation Tejas has been designed by the Aircraft Development Agency (ADA) which is under Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and has been manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

Number 18 Squadron: Key Highlights

•   On April 15, 1965, 18 Squadron was formed. It had also actively participated in the India-Pakistan war of 1971and had been decorated with the highest gallantry award ‘Param Vir Chakra’.

•   It had also earned the nickname of ‘Defenders of Kashmir Valley’, as it was the first to land and operate from the Kashmir valley.

•   The squadron had been flying the MiG 27 aircraft before it got number plated on April 16, 2016. Number plating signifies that a squadron has been temporarily wound down and can be revived again with a different aircraft.

•   The squadron was resurrected on April 1, 2020 at Sulur for the induction of the Tejas jets.

Strengthening fighter squadrons in IAF:

The Indian Air Force 9IAF) had previously ordered 40 Light Combat Aircraft (LCAs). Defence Acquisition Council led by Rajnath Singh in March 2020 had cleared the procurement of 83 of the more advanced Mk1A version of the aircraft from HCL by finalizing the contract. It was estimated to be Rs. 38,000 crore.

The Mk1A version aircraft will have beyond visual range missiles, electronic warfare suits, and active electronically scanned array radar. It has been crucial to raise the new squadrons for IAF, as it has been facing depleting strength of fighter squadrons from an authorized strength of 42 which is down to around 30.

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