No. 45 Flying Daggers, the first Indian Air Force (IAF) squadron to be equipped with the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas in July last year, would be permanently shifted to Sulur near Coimbatore by next year. Currently, the squadron is involved in the training of aircrew, ground crew, and formation of procedures. The squadron, which has been much appreciated for its Republic Day flypast in January this year and for its flypasts on Air Force Day for the last two years, has also undertaken detachments at operational bases to test the weapon capability of the Tejas aircraft. The aircraft is designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) of Bengaluru. On Tuesday, air officer commanding-in-chief (AOCIC) of the Southern Air Command, air marshal RKS Bhadauria went for a solo flight in the Tejas aircraft for about 30 minutes. Bhadauria has more than 4000 hrs of operational flying experience and has over 100 sorties of test flights on the Tejas LCA aircraft. With the induction of an additional assembly line at HAL, the production of Tejas will be ramped up to meet the delivery schedules, a statement from the Ministry of Defence said. The ADA is also working to complete all activities pending towards the Final Operational Clearance, which will give the Tejas more teeth and firepower.
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