27 May 2020
The Indian Air Force (IAF) commissioned its second squadron of Tejas Mk 1 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) in a ceremony held on 27 May at Sulur Air Force Station (AFS) in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
Officials told Janes that the first of a planned 20 LCAs in final operational clearance (FOC) configuration was inducted into the No 18 ‘Flying Bullets’ Squadron during the event, adding that four more of these aircraft are currently “in advanced stages of production and testing” and will join the squadron “in the near future”.
The IAF inducted the first of a planned 20 FOC-configured Tejas LCA Mk 1 fighters into the No 18 ‘Flying Bullets’ Squadron during a ceremony held on 27 May at Sulur Air Force Station.
Compared with the previous variant, the LOC-configured Tejas Mk 1 has an aerial refuelling and a beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile capability, both of which were successfully tested for the first time in March following a delay of some eight years.
Moreover, senior IAF officials said that this variant of the single-engined fighter also enables easier maintainability of its line-replaceable units (LRUs).
Industry sources said 15 more LOC-configured single-seat Mk 1s will eventually be delivered to the IAF by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). These platforms will then be joined by four dual-seat trainers once their design configuration has been finalised.
Ordered in 2010 for INR59.89 billion (USD792 million), the 20 LOC-configured Mk 1s will supplement 16 Mk 1s in initial operational clearance (IOC) configuration that entered service from 2016 with the IAF’s No 45 ‘Flying Daggers’ Squadron, which is also based at Sulur.
This squadron is also awaiting delivery of its four twin-seat trainers.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) commissioned its second squadron of Tejas Mk 1 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA...