THANJAVUR: The 222 Tigersharks squadron with Sukhoi Su-30 MKI super-manoeuvrable fighter aircraft were inducted into the Indian Air Force Station in Thanjavur on Monday. Speaking after the induction, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Bipin Rawat said the resurrection of Squadron 222 highlights the integration of Armed Forces.
“Sukhoi fighter aircraft equipped with BrahMos (missile) will become a game changer for our armed forces,” he said. “With the squadron, the security of our maritime domain has been enhanced extensively,” he said, adding that the squadron can also perform tasks in support of land forces. “It can protect vulnerable areas and any other task may be assigned,” Bipin Rawat said.
The squadron has onerous responsibilities such as operating in close conjunction with the Navy and the Army. Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Chief of Air Staff of Indian Air Force, said the squadron will act as air defence for the southern peninsula. “Its importance increases in view of some of the critical national assets located in the region,” he added.
The Tigerssharks squadron, formed in 1969, was home to Sukhoi-7 aircraft and it later hosted ground attack MiG-27 aircraft. Sukhoi-30 MKIs are the backbone of IAF and being built by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.
It is one of the fourth generations of the most advanced fighter aircraft. It is capable of carrying out a variety of missions like ground attack and sea attack.
BrahMos missile is the world’s deadliest cruise missile. Equipped with this missile, the Sukhoi-30 MKI can attack a missile flying faster than the wind at a distance of 250 to 300 km Responding to a question at a press conference later, on whether the presence of China in the Indian Ocean posed a threat to India, he said we should not look at it from that perspective.
“The ocean is meant for freedom of navigation. If a country is interested in a particular area, it was more for freedom of navigation. The nations are interested in the protection of their merchant ships,” he added. To another question on the possibility of a war in the near future, Bipin Rawat said it is very difficult to predict the scenario.
“But we are always prepared for any task that may be assigned to us,” he added.
Those present on the occasion included 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; G Satheesh Reddy, Chairman, Defence Research and Development Organisation; and R Madhavan, Chairman cum Managing Director, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
On arrival, General Bipin Rawat was received by Group Captain Prajual Singh, Station Commander, Air Force Station, Thanjavur. Flight display of Tejas was conducted.