Sukhois armed with BrahMos inducted at AFS Thanjavur

Sukhois armed with BraMos inducted at AFS Thanjavur

Thanjavur: The Indian Air Force (IAF) strengthened its presence in the southern part of the country with the induction of its formidable frontline striker fighter Sukhois (Su-30MKIs) into the recently-resurrected No 222 Squadron (The Tigersharks) here at the Air Force Station (AFS) Thanjavur on Monday.

The induction of Sukhois armed with BrahMos cruise missile is significant to the IAF as it gives a major boost to its missions in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria and Air Marshal Amit Tiwari, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Air Command (SAC) were among the top dignitaries present at the event.

AFS Thanjavur has Group Captain Prajul Singh as the Station Commander while Group Captain Manoj Gera is the Commanding Officer of The Tigersharks.

Dedicated to the nation on May 27, 2013 to add more teeth to the operational capabilities of SAC, the AFS Thanjavur is being modelled on the lines of a frontline base.

‚ÄúThe base is being developed as an advanced fighter base. We are adding more assets to this base. AFS Thanjavur is a strategic base for the IAF,‚ÄĚ says an official.

Sukhois armed with BraMos inducted at AFS Thanjavur

The runway length too has doubles over the years.

‚ÄúWe have increased the runway length from 4,500 feet to 9,000-plus-feet as mandated for any modern fighter operations. New hangars are also place to house the Sukhois,‚ÄĚ says the official.

Advantage IAF

Sukhois armed with BraMos inducted at AFS Thanjavur

A serving Air Marshal with the IAF told Onmanorama on Monday that the strategic reach, especially with aerial refuelling capabilities, the Sukhois can reach the Malacca Straits in the East.

‚ÄúAFS Thanjavur sits astride the Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea like a permanent aircraft carrier. That‚Äôs the advantage the base offers to IAF,‚ÄĚ he said.

Sukhois armed with BraMos inducted at AFS Thanjavur

He said the IAF is in an advantageous position to possibly target Surface Action Groups and Carrier Battle Groups with long range vectors in the IOR.

(The writer is an independent aerospace and defence journalist, who blogs at Tarmak007 and tweets @writetake.)

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