India’s indigenously built Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, the smallest and lightest Multi-Role Supersonic Fighter Aircraft in its class, commenced operations from the Sulur Air Force Station in Tamil Nadu on Monday, two years after its induction into the Indian Air Force, an official release said.
The aircraft, part of the ‘Flying Daggers’ of the ‘No 45 Squadron’, was formally operationalised at a ceremony attended by Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (Southern Air Command) RKS Bhadauria.
Designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the single-engine, tailless aircraft would cater to the diverse needs of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Navy.
The Southern Air Command based in Tiruvananthapuram has been entrusted with the responsibility of integrating the fighter aircraft, equipped with a satellite aided Inertial Navigation System, in the Air Force’s Concept of Operations.
The aircraft has a digital computer-based attack system and autopilot mode. It can fire Air to Air Missiles, carry bombs and precision guided ammunition.
The ‘No 45 Squadron’ has been involved in training aircrew and would now undertake operations and maintenance of the aircraft under Group Captain S Dhankhar, the release said.
With the deployment of Tejas, the ‘Flying Daggers’ would take up wartime role towards safeguarding national skies, it said.
Inspiring plans afoot for TN
AFS Sulur is ready with a series of inspiring plans to attract youngsters to join the ranks of IAF in future. Based on the response the Station received last year during the ‘Know Your Forces’ event, the officials are now keen to take the Tejas story to the young generation in the state.
“We want the environment around AFS Sulur to come and get a feel of Tejas. We want to give opportunities for the students to come an experience the Tejas fighter from close quarters” says Air Commodore Puntambekar.
He said the coming of Tejas to Sulur will benefit the youngsters from Tamil Nadu.
“It is a great opportunity to youngsters, provided they too tune in to the changing needs of the future and the IAF,” he adds.
Gagan Shakti an eye-opener
The stupendous performance by the Flying Daggers during the recent exercise Gagan Shakti has won laurels for the team from many quarters. During the exercise, Tejas platforms undertook multirole missions by both day and night and were able to turn around at very short notice without any prolonged snags. Though meant to be a replacement for the MiG 21s, Tejas proved to be at par with any contemporary fighter in its class.
Group Captain Samrath Dhankhar (Danny), who took over as the Commanding Officer of Flying Daggers on May 28 this year, said the priority of his team would be to safely settle down and orient themselves in the new base. Danny is assisted by Wg Cdr M Tolani, who has taken over as the Flight Commander of Flying Daggers.
“The Tejas has everything a modern fighter needs to have and we are happy with this flying machine. It is a smart and intelligent platform which would listen to you and even talk back to you. For a fighter pilot, Tejas is a delight and I am happy to lead the boys,” says Gp Capt Dhankhar.
Hailing from Rohtak in Haryana, Danny is the first non-test pilot to have flown Tejas after the Flying Daggers was raised in Bengaluru. He has 17 years of experience in the IAF and leads a very young team.
Read more about LCA Tejas http://www.indino.in/tejas-indias-first-indigenous-fighter-aircraft/