India has supplied Thanjavur airbase on its strategic southern coast with Su-30MKI air superiority fighter jets as part of an ongoing effort to boost the defenses of the Indian Ocean region.
Interestingly last year, prior to the Abhinandan fiasco, Pakistan Air Force’s JF-17 Thunder shot down a Su-30 and Mig-21 of the Indian Air Force, within 50 seconds of a dogfight, resulting in diplomatic embarrassment and loss of two fighter jets for India.
In response to PAF strikes this morning as released by MoFA, IAF crossed LOC. PAF shot down two Indian aircrafts inside Pakistani airspace. One of the aircraft fell inside AJ&K while other fell inside IOK. One Indian pilot arrested by troops on ground while two in the area.
— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) February 27, 2019
On Monday, the jets were officially inducted at Thanjavur Air Force Station in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, which is set to be home to the No. 222 Squadron, known as ‘Tiger Sharks’.
The Sukhoi-30 MKI was developed on the basis of Russia’s Sukhoi-30 especially for India (‘MKI’ means Modernised Commercial Indian by its first Russian letters)
Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat and Chief of the Air Staff Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria were present at the ceremony.
#WATCH Water salute being given to the SU-30MKI fighter aircraft at the induction of the 222 ‘Tigersharks’ fighter squadron at the Thanjavur air base. pic.twitter.com/pMO9ugtZgO
— ANI (@ANI) January 20, 2020
The squadron will have five to six planes, with the number expected to rise to 18 in the future, according to local media. The new aircraft are being equipped with BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, which were jointly developed by India and Russia and have a range of 300km (186 miles).
The SU-30MKI fighters in Thanjavur are being equipped with the air launched version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles which can hit targets at around 300 kms with precision. https://t.co/N79BbocU2o pic.twitter.com/RVJcRZKONC
— ANI (@ANI) January 20, 2020
It is pertinent to note that defense experts are of the opinion that the IAF’s Su-30 jets are at most only “at par” with the Pakistani JF-17 Thunder fighter jets, which successfully defeated the Su-30 in a dogfight on the 27th of February, 2019.
The Sukhoi-30 MKI was developed on the basis of Russia’s Sukhoi-30 especially for India (‘MKI’ means Modernised Commercial Indian by its first Russian letters). The planes are highly-maneuverable, equally capable of striking ground targets during a raid and conducting dogfights. In Thanjavur, they will be tasked with defending India’s southern coasts and patrolling maritime areas.
Read more: India Touts BrahMos as World’s Fastest Cruise Missile: Pakistan Responds with Shaheen II
Several days before the ceremony, Air Marshal Amit Tiwari, who leads the Southern Air Command, said that the IAF are ready to “extend the reach into the vast Indian Ocean region.” The strategic region has “an important role to play in regional peace, security and prosperity,” he said.
RT with additional input from GVS News Desk