Indigenously developed Tejas aircraft join Indian Air Force

NEW DELHI: Two indigenously developed Tejas Light Combat Aircraft were on Friday formally inducted into the Indian Air Force at IAF’s Aircraft Systems & Test Establishment in Bengaluru on Friday as part of the first squadron.

An inter-faith prayer in progress at IAF's Aircraft Systems & Test Establishment in Bengaluru. Photo: K. Murali Kumar
The Tejas aircraft gets a ceremonial water salute after it returned from its maiden seven-minute flight after induction. Photo: Madhumathi D.S.

They will be part of the new Squadron 45 ‘Flying Daggers’, which will get the remaining 18 aircraft including four trainers in 2018.

A ‘Sarva Dharma Pooja’ (inter-faith prayer) was conducted before the induction. Such worships are customary at inductions and before staff training sessions, an IAF official said.

A Tejas aircraft flown by Commanding Officer Group Captain Madhav Rangachari performed a sortie during the induction ceremony, attended by Air Marshal Jasbir Walia, Air Officer Commanding-in Chief, Southern Air Command and senior HAL executives.

The Tejas aircraft gets a ceremonial water salute after it returned from its maiden seven-minute flight after induction. Photo: Madhumathi D.S.
Sulur in Tamil Nadu has been chosen as the LCA base. The LCA project began in 1985 and the IAF planned to induct it in 1994 to replace the MiG-21s. After long delays, the LCA achieved the first level of flight worthiness or Initial Operational Clearance in December 2013. The Final Operational Clearance is expected by this year-end.

The commissioning of the India-made fighter planes comes more than three decades after LCA went into development.

The aircraft was named “Tejas” (meaning radiance in Sanskrit) by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.