The Air Force Station at Sulur here will get Sukhoi-30 MKI combat aircraft in 2016, Air Marshal R.K. Jolly, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Air Command, said here on Tuesday.
The IAF station and the fighter base to become operational in Thanjavur will be equipped to progressively build air capabilities in the southern region, he told reporters.
A new runway had been completed, a parallel taxi track was getting ready and other infrastructure development were on at Sulur. These would cater for the Su-30 MKI Squadron and also the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) when the squadron was formed. Referring to the delay in the induction of the LCA, the Air Marshal said that the LCA Squadron would be formed either along with the Su-30 MKI Squadron or “probably after that”.
“The Southern Air Command covers a large coastline of nearly 4,000 km that is relevant in terms of maritime importance. There is a need to protect this and hence the air power in the southern region is being beefed up. The runway in Thanjavur is ready and the base will start operations soon.”
On shortage of personnel in the IAF, he said though there was no severe shortage of officers and airmen, there was a long-term plan to increase the intake and improve training facilities.