The first Tejas squadron has been christened 31 years after the aircraft was first conceived.
The Tejas is an Indian single-seat, single-jet engine, multi-role light fighter designed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The aircraft has a tail-less delta-wing configuration. It is the smallest and lightest in its class of contemporary supersonic combat aircraft.
The jet has been long delayed by technological hurdles US sanctions imposed after India carried out nuclear tests in 1998 further stalled development of the jet.
The Tejas is the second supersonic fighter developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited after the Marut.
As of 2016 the Tejas MK1 was in production for the Indian Air Force and the naval version was undergoing flight tests for Indian Navy. The projected requirement for IAF is 200 single-seat fighters and 20 twin-seat trainers, while the IN expects to operate 40 single-seat fighters.
The first Tejas IAF squadron christened the 45 squadron or the Flying Daggers has been formed with two aircrafts. Initially being stationed at Bengaluru, the first squadron will be placed at its home base at Sulur, Tamil Nadu.
The aircraft is not fully indigenous. Out of a total of thirty five major avionics components, three involve foreign systems. These are the multi-function displays by Sextant (France) and Elbit (Israel), the helmet-mounted display and sight cueing system by Elbit and the laser pod supplied by Rafael (Israel).
Production aircraft are expected to have MFDs from Indian suppliers. A few important items of equipment (such as the Martin-Baker ejection seat) have been imported from the United Kingdom.
As a consequence of the embargo imposed on India after its nuclear weapons tests in May 1998, many items originally planned to be imported were instead developed locally.