Indian Air Force's Su-30 MKI fighters simulate long-range strikes deep into Indian Ocean

This comes a few days after another such operation carried out into the Indian Ocean towards the eastern seaboard.

Published: 09th June 2023 08:41 PM  |   Last Updated: 09th June 2023 08:41 PM   |  A+A-

Su-30 MKI refuelling for the mission (Photo | Special arrangement)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force on Friday demonstrated a long-range maritime strike capability as its frontline combat fighter, the Su-30 MKI, carried out sorties deep into the Indian Ocean towards the western seaboard.

Announcing the operations, the IAF Twitter handle messaged: “Another outing into the Indian Ocean Region! This time, with IAF Su-30s flying nearly eight hours, on a different axis.”

This comes a few days after another such operation carried out into the Indian Ocean towards the eastern seaboard. Over a week back, four IAF Rafales flew a long-range mission for over six hours into the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). "The aircraft ‘fought’ their way through a large force engagement en route to their Weapon Release Point. Pickle on time, weapon on target-the IAF way!" the IAF had tweeted.

Air refuellers were also pressed into operation to stretch the operational radius.

“It was a validation of wartime concepts and the mission simulated delivering ordinance on target evading enemy obstacles,” said a source.

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This will boost the country’s offensive strike capability in case of any requirement, added the source.

This exercise holds significance keeping in mind the country's heavy dependence on the sea for its economic well-being. About 95 percent of India’s trade by volume, over 74 percent by value and more than 80 percent of its oil and gas traveling over the sea is done through the sea lanes of communication passing through the Indian Ocean.

While the Indian Navy is the primary custodian of maritime security and defence, the IAF also has a designated fighter squadron specifically for the maritime operational role.

India operates 36 Rafale fighters (two squadrons) which are 4.5 generation fighters with a maximum range of around 1600 km. Their strike range gets extended further with the long-range standoff missiles operated by them.

The IAF operates around 260 Russian-origin Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft which were inducted into the force in 1997. These have been armed with deadly BrahMos missiles. Indian Air Force chief ACM VR Chaudhari had recently said that all Sukhoi squadrons have been equipped with the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile system.

The missile has a maximum speed of 2.8 Mach (around 3,450 kmph or 2,148 mph) which makes it difficult to intercept by surface-to-air missiles. Its features include an ability to evade radars.

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