IAF chief flies Tejas as 2nd squadron inducts indigenous fighter

The No 18 Squadron was "resurrected" on April 1 this year at Sulur

iaf chief tejas Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria on the Tejas | Twitter handle of IAF

The Indian Air Force on Wednesday operationalised No.18 Squadron, the "Flying Bullets", at Sulur near Coimbatore, 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 R.K.S. Bhadauria at the Sulur Air Force Station. Bhadauria also flew the Tejas fighter with the No 45 Squadron at Sulur.

The No.18 Squadron will be the second one to have the home-made Tejas, after the 45 Squadron.

An all-faith prayer was held and a coconut broken to mark the induction of Tejas on Wednesday.

The No 18 Squadron, formed in 1965 with the motto Teevra aur Nirbhaya meaning "swift and fearless," was earlier flying MiG027 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 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.