May 27, 2020
Coimbatore : Indian Air Force (IAF) Wednesday inducted the first Light Compact Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk-1 FOC (Final Operational
Clearance) Standard and operationalised its second LCA Squadron 18 Flying Bullets at Air Force Station in Sulur, on the outskirts.
An Inter faith prayer was performed before induction of the Tejas Mk-1 manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautical Ltd, Bengaluru, whose Chairman and Managing Director, R Madhavan handed over its documents to Air Chief Marshal and Chief of the Air Staff R K S Bhaduauria.
Earlier, Bhaduria flew a sortie on an Initial Clearance Operation (IOC) aircraft from the 45 Squadron Flying Daggers.
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, multi-mode 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.
The Squadron is now now re-equipped with LCA Tejas FOC Aircraft and has become the second IAF Squadron to fly LCA Tejas.
The 18 Squadron was formed on 15 Apr 1965 with the motto ‘Teevra aur Nirbhaya’ meaning ‘Swift and Fearless’ and the Squadron was flying MiG 27
aircraft before it got number plated on 15 Apr 2016. The Squadron was resurrected on April one this year at Sulur.
Later addressing Airmen and senior officials of HAL, Aeronaturical Development Agency, Bhaduaria urged the industry to work together to fulfill the requirements of IAF, the road map for three decades was already laid.
Lauding the scientists and others behind the designing and manufacture of the new version, he said that this model was the best in this class in
the world now.
The FOC variant has the air-to-air refuelling facility, close combat gun and updated avionics and flight control software among others, he said.
Though there was a delay in handing over the Aircraft due to Covid-19 situation, it was now now the responsibility of Airmen to make use of
the facility, he said, adding that there was the requirement of 83 LCA to IAF.
Madhavan said that HAL will be delivering 16 Tejas FOC to the IAF in another 36 months, even production of four FOC aircraft was in advanced stage.
IAF has placed an order for 20 IOC standard aircraft and 20 FOC standard aircraft, Madhavan said.
Bhadauria handed over a representational key of the first LCA Tejas Mk-1 fighter to Group Captain Manish Tolani, Commanding Officer of No. 18 Squadron at Air Force Station, Sulur.