After a wait of over three decades, the Indian Air Force (IAF) inducted Tejas, a homegrown fighter jet, on Friday.
The first squadron of Tejas aircraft is christened ‘Flying Daggers 45’ of the indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).The LCA squadron induction ceremony was held at the Aircraft System Testing Establishment in Bengaluru in the presence of Air Marshal Jasbir Walia.
The state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) handed over the first two homegrown aircraft to the Air Force as part of a new squadron called the "Flying Daggers".
Tejas is equipped with a modern Israeli multi-mode radar, state of the art Derby air to air missiles and targeting pods to hit ground targets.
The LCA will replace the ageing fleet of MiG-21 planes. The new squadron will get a total of 18 aircraft including four trainers in 2018.The induction ceremony at the Aircraft System Testing Establishment in Bengaluru began with a traditional all-faith prayer and also featured a spectacular water-cannon salute.
The aircraft was named "Tejas", which means radiance in Sanskrit, by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The Air Force, which plans to add six aircraft this year and about eight in the next, has said the Tejas will feature in its combat plan next year and will also be deployed in forward bases.
The upgraded version of Tejas with mid-air refuelling capacity and advanced beyond the vision range missiles will cost between Rs. 275 crore and Rs. 300 crore.