Indian Air Force to operationalise second LCA Tejas squadron

26 May 2020 (Last Updated May 26th, 2020 12:50)

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to operationalise its second squadron of the Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) at Sulur airbase near Coimbatore in the state of Tamil Nadu.

Indian Air Force to operationalise second LCA Tejas squadron
IAF Tejas. Credit: Venkat Mangudi.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to operationalise its second squadron of the Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) at Sulur airbase near Coimbatore in the state of Tamil Nadu.

According to local media reports, the Number 18 Squadron, codenamed Flying Bullets, will feature Tejas aircraft in the Final Operational Configuration. Initially, it will include one aircraft, while additional units will be added gradually.

This squadron was formed in 1965 and actively participated in the 1971 India-Pakistan war. It was flying the MiG 27 aircraft before it was deactivated in 2016.

The Number 18 Squadron was revived earlier this year to raise it with Tejas aircraft, reported the Economic Times.

Notably, the first LCA Tejas squadron, named Number 45 the Flying Daggers, was raised in 2016.

Tejas is a fourth-generation fighter jet designed by the Aircraft Development Agency (ADA) and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL).

Featuring a composite material structure, the aircraft is equipped with a fly-by-wire flight control system, integrated digital avionics and multimode radar.

The formation of the new squadron is expected to strengthen the capabilities of IAF, which is struggling with depleting strength of fighter squadrons.

In March this year, the LCA in full operational capability (FOC) standard (SP-21) conducted its maiden flight.

IAF has already placed an order of 40 Tejas aircraft.

It is also expected to acquire an additional 83 single-engine Tejas Mark-1A LCA fighter jets from HAL. It was reported that this deal, which also includes maintenance and infrastructure, was finalised earlier this year.