By Nallan Chakravarthi Bipindra
New Delhi: India’s topline Sukhoi-30 MKI combat aircraft will soon be a permanent fixture in the skies over Rajasthan, with the Indian Air Force (IAF) deploying a squadron of the air superiority fighter jets at the Jodhpur air base on Saturday, from where the Pakistan border is a mere two minute flight away.
“This will be the first time a squadron of the Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft is being based in Rajasthan, that too close to Pakistan border,” a defense ministry official told IANS here Friday.
With the induction of the Sukhoi squadron in Rajasthan, the IAF’s strike capability has been ramped up considerably.
“The squadron will formally assume its duties with effect from Oct 1 from Jodhpur air base,” defense spokesperson at Jodhpur, Colonel SD Goswami told IANS.
“The squadron taking to the Western sector skies — with its lethal strike force, multi-role function and weaponry carrying capability — will give unassailable advantage to IAF in this sector,” Goswami said.
The twin-engined Russian-origin Sukhoi-30 MKI, with a capacity to touch 2 Mach or 2,450 kmph speeds, are now produced under license in India.
These war birds are set to get deadlier with the integration of the supersonic BrahMos cruise missile very soon. The aircraft has a range of 5,200 km and a capacity to carry 8,000 kg of warheads.
The Sukhoi squadron will have 16 aircraft in its inventory.
The planes have already arrived Jodhpur from Pune in Maharashtra, where they were previously based, officials said.
Write to Nallan Chakravarthi Bipindra at firstname.lastname@example.org