On March 17, 2020, the first Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency and built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) that has been awarded final operational clearance and designated as Series Production (SP) 21, flew a sortie of 40 minutes. Coming five years after induction of the first Tejas LCA Mk I into the Indian Air Force (IAF) without initial operational clearance, this latest mission has paved the way for the raising of the second squadron equipped with the Tejas LCA Mk I. The first squadron called the Flying Daggers equipped with LCA Tejas Mk I, is already operational at IAF Station Sulur. The successful flight by SP 21 is a landmark event that certainly has reignited hopes for the combat fleet of the IAF that has dwindled to the lowest ever strength of 29 squadrons as against 42 as authorised by the Government. The second squadron, numbered as 18, was operationalised by the Chief of the Air Staff on May 27, 2020.
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May - June 2020