COIMBATORE: Adding more muscle to the Indian Air Force's lethal power, the second squadron of the indigenous Tejas Mk-1 FOC (Final Operations Clearance) fighter aircraft has been operationalised at Sulur Air Force Station in Coimbatore on Wednesday.
The Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria flew the fighter aircraft with the No.45 Squadron (Flying Daggers) at the air base.
The Tejas Mk-1 inducted into the No.18 Squadron (Flying Bullets) -- the only Param Vir Chakra Squadron of the IAF -- was manufactured at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in Bengaluru.
Addressing the gathering, Bhadauria said the IAF will now on rely on indigenous products rather than foreign ones.
"We must synergise private sector firms and MSMEs to grab the opportunity of indigenous production for the IAF," he said.
With this, the Flying Bullets has now become the second IAF Squadron to fly the LCA Tejas.
The Tejas Mk-1 FOC aircraft has more clearance to carry different types of weapons when compared to the earlier version of Tejas.
One of the main features is that the aircraft can perform air-to-air refuelling. The pilots shall experience smooth manoeuvring of the fleet.
With the induction of India's most supersonic fighter aircraft, Sulur would turn into an important IAF base under its Southern Air Command based at Thiruvananthapuram.
Tejas is an indigenous fourth generation tailless compound delta-wing aircraft. It is equipped with a fly-by-wire flight control system, integrated digital avionics and 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.
The 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. It was resurrected on April 1 of 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’ given 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 the President’s Standard in November 2015.