IAF Chief Rakesh Bhadauria flew the TEJAS at Sulur during the inauguration of the 2nd LCA TEJAS squadron, ‘Flying Bullets’, on Wednesday

Indian Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on Wednesday flew the TEJAS fighter plane at Air Force Station Sulur in Tamil Nadu as the IAF operationalised its No 18 Squadron, equipping it with the fourth generation Tejas aircraft.

Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria operationalised the squadron “Flying Bullets” at the Sulur Air Force Station near Coimbatore on Wednesday. The Air Chief Marshal also flew an TEJAS during at the inauguration of the 2nd TEJAS squadron.

"The Squadron will be equipped with TEJAS FOC (final operation clearance) aircraft and will be the second IAF Squadron to fly TEJAS after the 45 Squadron based at Coimbatore,", a release said.

The No 18 Squadron, formed in 1965 with the motto “Teevra aur Nirbhaya” meaning "Swift and Fearless," was earlier flying MiG 27 aircraft.

The Squadron "actively participated" in the 1971 war with Pakistan and was decorated with the highest gallantry award Param Vir Chakra awarded to Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon posthumously.

The Squadron was resurrected on April 1 this year at Sulur.

TEJAS is an indigenous fourth generation tailless compound delta wing aircraft. The aircraft is equipped with fly-by-wire flight control system, integrated digital avionics, multi-mode radar and its structure is made of composite material.

"It is the lightest and smallest in its group of fourth generation supersonic combat aircraft," a Defence release had said earlier.