Su 30 MKI – Long Range Heavy Weight Option for IOR
No 222 Squadron, the Tigersharks was inducted at Air Force Station Thanjavur equipped with the Su 30 MKI.
Thanjavur air base is roughly in line with the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the air base with Su 30 MKI will be able to cover the southern Bay of Bengal areas extending from the Malacca Straits to the Andaman Seas.
Su 30 MKI has a flight range at this altitude of 1270 kms and is armed with a variety of ground attack systems including the BrahMos.
The heavy fighter also carries Kh-59ME,Kh-59MK,Kh-35, Kh-31P/A,Kh-29T/A,S-8,S-13Kh-509ME ,Kh-59MK,Kh-35, Kh-31 variety of missiles and bombs.
While LCA Tejas is another option that could have been envisaged for deployment. However the limited range of 850 kms and the package of armament apart from bombs including Kh-509ME ,Kh-59MK,Kh-35, Kh-31 is restricted.
The squadron was inducted in a ceremony attended by General Bipin Rawat, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Chief of the Air Staff, Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman, DRDO, Air Marshal Amit Tiwari AVSM VM, Air Officer Commanding – in – Chief (AOC-in-C), Southern Air Command (SAC), Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain AVSM VSM, Flag Officer Commanding – in – Chief (FOC-in-C), Eastern Naval Command (ENC), Mr R Madhavan, Chairman cum Managing Director, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and other Dignitaries on 20 Jan 2020.
General Bipin Rawat in his address said that the resurrection of the ‘Tigersharks’ highlighted the Integration and Jointness which is the future of the Indian Armed Forces.
He brought out that Su 30 MKI aircraft along with the BrahMos will be the game-changer which will extensively enhance the security of the Maritime domain.
The Squadron will be operating closely with the Indian Army and Navy to get the ball rolling in jointness of the Indian Armed Forces.
Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria He said that it was a historic day for the Indian Air Force, Southern Air Command, Air Force Station Thanjavur and 222 Squadron.
He spoke of the decision to choose Thanjavur as the base for induction of the SU 30 MKI squadron because of its strategic location and complimented Southern Air Command and all personnel of AFS Thanjavur for their efforts towards advancing the induction of the squadron by almost a year.
The induction ceremony culminated with a flying display by Light Combat Aircraft, Sarang Helicopter Display Team and Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team.