Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria will operationalise the No 18 squadron ‘Flying Bullets’ of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on May 27 at Sulur near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu.
Indigenous light combat aircraft Tejas will be part of the squadron, making it the second IAF squadron to fly LCA Tejas.
The 18 Squadron was formed on April 15, 1965 with the motto ‘Teevra aur Nirbhaya’ meaning ‘Swift and Fearless’.
“The squadron was flying MiG-27 aircraft before it got number plated on April 15, 2016. The squadron was resurrected on April 1 this year at Sulur,” the statement said.
An active participant in the 1971 War with Pakistan, this squadron was decorated with the highest gallantry award ‘Param Vir Chakra’ awarded to Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon posthumously.
The squadron was presented with President’s Standard in November 2015. Earning the sobriquet – ‘Defenders of Kashmir Valley,’ the squadron was the first to land and operate from Srinagar.
Tejas is an indigenous fourth-generation tail-less compound delta wing aircraft.
The LCA design was finalized in 1990 with relaxed static stability (RSS) to enhance manoeuvrability and a host of other advanced features. A review committee was formed in May 1989 which reported that Indian infrastructure, facilities and technology had advanced sufficiently in most areas to undertake the project.
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.
Tejas is the lightest and smallest in its group of supersonic combat aircraft.