New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) will operationalise Wednesday its second squadron comprising indigenously developed light combat aircraft Tejas at the Sulur airbase near Coimbatore.
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria will operationalise the 18 Squadron which is codenamed ‘Flying Bullets’.
“The squadron will be equipped with light combat Tejas aircraft and it will be the second IAF squadron to fly Tejas,” an IAF spokesperson said Monday.
The Tejas is a fourth generation combat aircraft developed by Aeronautical Development Agency and the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). It is equipped with fly-by-wire flight control system, integrated digital avionics and multimode radar.
The IAF has already placed an order for 40 Tejas aircraft and is likely to seal a contract very soon with HAL for another 83 aircraft at a cost of around Rs 38,000 crore.
The 18 squadron was formed in 1965 with the motto ‘Teevra aur Nirbhaya’ meaning ‘Swift and Fearless’. The squadron was flying MiG 27 aircraft before it was number plated or decommissioned April 15, 2016.
The squadron was resurrected April 1 at Sulur. It actively participated in the 1971 war with Pakistan. 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.