45 Squadron to fly Tejas fighter jets

45 Squadron to fly Tejas fighter jets

Wait ends: Called Flying Daggers, unit will be based in Bengaluru for 2 yrs

45 Squadron to fly Tejas fighter jets
The first squadron of the indigenously built supersonic fighter jet, Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, was inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Friday.

Two Tejas jets was inducted into the 45 Squadron of the IAF, also called the “Flying Daggers” 45, to start with. It will be based in Bengaluru for the initial two years. 

Air Marshal Jasbir Walia, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command said that a total of five jets will be added to the squadron by the year end. The Final Operational Clearance (FOC) of the aircraft is expected around 2017.

“After the FOC, we hope to shift base to Sulur in Tamil Nadu with around 18 to 20 aircrafts by 2018. The infrastructure will also be ready by then,” he added. 

The IAF has also shown interest in acquiring 80 aircraft, he said.  

Group Commander Madhav Rangachari, who is the very first Commanding Officer ofthe LCA squadron, flew the inaugural flight of the LCA Tejas after the induction ceremony that took place at the Aircraft System Testing Establishment (ASTE), a unit of the IAF in the city.

“Initially, six pilots will be part of the first squadron. By the end of the year, we hope to have 15 pilots and a technical staff of 200,” said Madhav, soon after the flight.    

Dr. Kota Harinarayana, who was the programme director and chief designer of LCA Tejas Project said: “A lot of effort has gone into the project and today (Friday) with the induction, a very important milestone has been achieved. The whole aircraft was designed keeping in view  fighting capabilities. I am looking forward to more pilots getting trained and more squadrons being raised,” he said. 

The aircraft received its initial operational clearance in 2013 and is awaiting the FOC following which the aircraft would incorporate Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles, improved and better standoff weapons and air-to-air refuelling capability.
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