SU-30MKI Fighter Aircraft Squadron Inducted at Thanjavur Air Base
CDS Gen Bipin Rawat and Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria officially inducted the first Sukhoi-30MKI fighter aircraft squadron at the Thanjavur airbase on Monday, 20 January. This is the first SU-30MKI fighter aircraft squadron in South India which will look after a maritime role as well.
The traditional water salute was given to the SU-30MKI fighter aircraft at the induction of the 222 ‘Tigersharks’ fighter squadron. The squadron will initially consist of six jets before scaling up to the full complement of 18.
Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said that the decision to deploy the SU-30 MKI at Thanjavur was taken due to its strategic location. The SU-30 MKI is equipped with BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles which will help protect both aerial and maritime regions in Southern India.
The missiles can hit targets within the range of 300 kilometres with precision and have been fully integrated with the SU-30 MKI by BrahMos Aerospace, HAL and the Air Force.
The Su-30 MKI is a state-of-the-art all-weather multi-role fighter aircraft capable of undertaking varied air defence, ground attack and maritime missions.
A defence release said that, with the operationalisation of the 222 Squadron, the air defence capabilities of the IAF, particularly in the Southern Air Command area, will be strengthened.
"This would also provide protection to our island territories and sea lines of communication in the Indian Ocean Region. The IOR is increasingly gaining importance and the presence of a fighter squadron will provide security cover to all our strategic and vital assets in the region." The squadron that was inducted was raised at Ambala in 1969.
During the IAF exercise Gagan Shakti-2018, the capabilities of this aircraft were amply demonstrated. Also, it showcased an extended air operational range with the help of air to air refuelling by the IL-78 flight refuelling aircraft.
CDS General Bipin Rawat commented on the preparedness of all three defence services, saying that “it is very difficult to predict the scenario but we are always prepared for any task that we are assigned.”
(With inputs from PTI)