The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Wednesday operationalised its no.18 Squadron, the “Flying Bullets”, at Sulur near here, equipping it with the fourth generation Mk1 LCA (Light Combat Aircraft) Tejas.
The indigenous tailless compound delta-wing aircraft was inducted at an official ceremony in the presence of Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria at the Sulur Air Force Station. The No.18 Squadron will be the second one to have the home-made Tejas, after the 45 Squadron based here.
An all-faith prayer was held and a coconut broken to mark the induction of Tejas today. The No 18 Squadron, formed in 1965 with the motto “Teevra aur Nirbhaya” meaning “Swift and Fearless,” was earlier flying MiG 27 aircraft.
The Squadron “actively participated” in the 1971 war with Pakistan. The Squadron was “resurrected” on April 1 this year at Sulur. Tejas is equipped with a fly-by-wire flight control system, integrated digital avionics and multimode radar, while its structure is made of composite material.
It is also the “lightest and smallest” in its group of fourth-generation supersonic combat aircraft,” a Defence release on Monday said.