IAF to operationalise, equip No. 18 squadron with LCA Tejas at Coimbatore

New Delhi (NVI): The No. 18 squadron of Indian Air Force is all set to become the second IAF fleet to fly indigenously built Light Combat Aircraft Tejas FOC. The squadron will be operationalised and equipped with the fourth generation LCA in an event to be held at Air Force Station, Sulur near Coimbatore on May 27.

IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria will operationalise No. 18 Squadron, which will be codenamed as  ‘Flying Bullets’, PIB (Defence Wing) said in a release.

IAF’s 18 squadron was formed on 15 April, 1965 with the motto ‘Teevra aur Nirbhaya’  (Swift and Fearless). The squadron was flying MiG 27 aircraft before it got number plated on 15 April 2016. The squadron was resurrected on April 1 this year at Sulur, according to the release.

The squadron actively participated in the 1971 war with Pakistan and was decorated with the highest gallantry award ‘Param Vir Chakra’ 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 presented with President’s Standard in November 2015, the release said.

Tejas is an indigenous fourth generation tailless compound delta-wing aircraft. The aircraft is equipped with fly-by-wire flight control system, integrated digital avionics, 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.