Sukhoi –MKI fighter plane equipped with Brahmos missile was inducted into the Air Force at the Thanjavur station on Monday in the presence of Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, enhancing India’s surveillance capability in the Indian Ocean region right up to Suez Canal.
The easily manoeuvrable jet was inducted into the newly reinstated 222 Tigersharks Squadron. Thanjavur is the second air force station after Sulur in Coimbatore, but the first to have this squadron in the Southern Command, according an official release.
Dedicated to the nation in 2013 by the then Defence Minister A K Antony with the primary aim of strengthening air defence capabalities of the Southern Command headquartered in Thiruvananthapuram, Thanjavur is mandated to protect India’s maritime assets in the southern peninsula as well as the Indian Ocean Range.
According to Air Marshal Amit Tiwari, SAC Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief the newly resurrected 222 Squadron was operationalised with Brahmos equipped Sukhoi-30 fighters with twin engine.
He said the Indian Ocean Range bordering three continents, has a crucial role in regional peace and security and IAF surveillance over its vast spread was vital. The Brahmos missile has a range of 300 km and it can strike target at sea or in the land, day and night, with pin-point accuracy.