The Indian Air Force inducted a squadron of Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter planes, with the capability to carry BrahMos missiles, at its Thanjavur airbase on Monday. To begin with, five to six SU-30MKI fighter planes with the capability to carry BrahMos Air Launched Cruise Missile would be positioned at the Air Force Station, Thanjavur, and the full capacity of 18 planes would be reached on a later date, gradually.
With the SU-30MKI Squadron getting positioned in Thanjavur, the Indian Air Force would get more air power to strike from long stand off ranges on any target at sea or on land with accuracy by day or night and in all weather conditions.
The 222 Squadron, also known as Tigersharks, was raised in September 1969 at Ambala, and was moved to Halwara in 1971. It was deployed in active combat operations in the 1971 war. Later it was moved back to Ambala in 1975 and from there to Hindon in 1985. Four years later the Squadron was moved back to Hasimara and stayed there till January 5, 2020, officials said.
Addressing the Air Force personnel at the “Tigersharks” induction ceremony, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat called upon the Squadron to operate in close coordination with the Navy and Army as the Su-30MKI fighter planes with BrahMos missile was going to be a game changer for the Indian Armed Forces.
Addressing the media later, General Bipin Rawat said that the Armed Forces have been asked to be in a state of readiness. Responding to a question on whether there was any possibility of a war in the near future, especially in the wake of Pakistan’s attitude towards India, he said that though he could not predict a war, the Armed Forces have been told to be in a state of readiness.
Replying to another question on his elevation as CDS, Bipin Rawat said his prime role would be to coordinate with the three Armed Forces for effective utilization of resources available with each of them, for the protection of the Nation.
Responding to a question, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, said that though there was no proposal for setting up of additional permanent bases in Southern region, temporary or local detachments may come up.
Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, Air Marshal Amit Tiwari, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Air Command, Dr. G.Satheesh Reddy, Secretary, Defence Research and Development Officer, R.Madhavan, Chairman and Managing Director, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and others participated.