Indian Air Force's second Tejas LCA squadron becomes operational at Tamil Nadu's Sulur

Team India Sentinels Wednesday 27th of May 2020 09:21 AM

A Tejas LCA in Sulur.

Chennai: The Sulur-based No. 18 Squadron of the Indian Air Force became second IAF squadron to operate the homemade supersonic Tejas light combat aircraft, on Wednesday.

At an event held at Sulur Air Force Station near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, the IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria operationalized the squadron, which is also known as the “Flying Bullets”.

The squadron has been equipped with Tejas aircraft in final operations clearance (FOC) standard with a version that has advanced flight-control systems.

With the operationalization of the second squadron and being the home station for India’s most advanced supersonic fighter aircraft, Sukhoi-30MKI, Sulur has become a strategically important base of the IAF under the Thiruvananthapuram-based Southern Air Command.

The No. 45 Squadron “Flying Daggers” is the first squadron to be armoured with Tejas and it was also based in Sulur.

Tejas was an indigenous fourth generation tailless compound delta-wing aircraft, which was equipped with fly-by-wire flight control system, integrated digital avionics, multi-mode radar and its structure was made from composite material. It is the lightest and smallest in its group of fourth-generation supersonic combat aircraft.

The No. 18 Squadron was originally formed on April 15, 1965, in Srinagar with Folland Gnat fighters. Then HAL Ajeet took place of the Gnats after the squadron moved base to Hindon in February 1975.

The squadron again saw a change of fighters with the Russian-origin MiG-27 replacing the Ajeet, in Kalaikunda, where the squadron was resurrected in May 1989.

The squadron got number-plated on April 15, 2016, after the decommissioning of the MiG-27s. Now, after being resurrected again, the Tejas has replaced the MiG-27 as the fighter of the squadron.

 The No. 18 Squadron’s motto is “Teevra aur Nirbhaya”, which means “Swift and Fearless”.

The squadron actively participated in the 1971 war with Pakistan. It was decorated with the highest gallantry award Param Vir Chakra, which was awarded 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 also presented with President’s Standard in November 2015.


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