First Su-30 MKI squadron in place in Thanjavur

Thanjavur: The Indian Air Force today commissioned a squadron of Sukhoi-30 MKI at the Air Force Station here, the first such base in south India for the high profile fighter jets, seen as a gamechanger in guarding the strategically important Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

The ‘Tigersharks’ squadron of Sukhoi 30 MKI jets integrated with the BrahMos cruise missiles was inducted by Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat in the presence of top officials including Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria.

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 with the operationalisation of the 222 Squadron, the air defence capablilites 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.