Marking a major step in enhancing operational capabilities, Indian Air Force has inducted indigenous Tejas-Mk1 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) squadron at Sulur air base in Tamil Nadu. According to Defence Capital, the Air Force revived its No. 18 Squadron or the ‘Flying Bullets‘, which was number-plated four years ago in April 2016, at Sulur to induct the Tejas Mk1 aircraft in its Final Operational Clearance (FOC) configuration.
The No. 18 Squadron falls under the operational control of Southern Air Command. Tejas Mk1 is a fourth-generation single-engine, light-weight, highly agile, all-weather multi-role fighter aircraft capable of air-to-air refueling, thus making it a truly versatile platform, the website said.
India had first inducted a Tejas Mk1 aircraft in its Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) configuration in July 2016 in to the No. 45 Squadron or ‘Flying Daggers‘ at Bengaluru and shifted the squadron to operate from Sulur to defend the nation’s peninsular region.
“The induction yet another important step towards enhancing the operational capability” of the air force, a statement said.
“This is also an important milestone in the country’s indigenous fighter aircraft programme and a significant boost to the ‘Make In India’ initiative,” Wing Commander Indranil Nandi, IAF spokesperson, said in the statement.
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal R. K. S. Bhadauria gave a thumbs-up to Tejas by flying a solo sortie — a feat never heard of for a newly inducted aircraft — just before handing over the aircraft to the squadron.