The Indian Air Force inducted first Tejas Mk-1 FOC aircraft into the recently resurrected No 18 Sqn, the “Flying Bullets” at Air Force Station Sulur.
The Squadron is the first in the IAF to induct this platform.
Tejas Mk-1 FOC is a single engine, light weight, highly agile, all weather multi role fighter aircraft capable of air-to-air refueling thus making it a truly versatile platform.
While addressing the personnel at AF Station Sulur, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria congratulated them and lauded the efforts put in by Southern Air Command and AF Station Sulur towards the induction of the new airborne platform. He complimented Chairman HAL, ADA, DRDO labs, DPSUs, MSMEs and all agencies involved in the production of LCA for achievement of this historic milestone.
The Squadron was operationalised by Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria. Air Officer Commanding in Chief of the Southern Air Command, Air Marshal Amit Tiwari, and the Commodore Commandant of 18 Sqn, Air Marshal TD Joseph, Mr R Madhavan CMD HAL, Dr Girish S Deodhare, PGD (CA) and Director, Aeronautical Development Agency were also present during the ceremony.
The No 18 Squadron also has the unique distinction of having operated two HAL made aircraft, the Tejas and the Ajeet which it also operated from the same station. Over the years it also operated MiG-27 ML aircraft from various bases across the country. The Squadron was number plated in Apr 2016.
The Squadron falls under the operational control of Southern Air Command which is responsible for integrating the Squadron into the IAF Concept of Operations.