The Indian Air Force has inducted its first squadron of Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft carrying the BrahMos missiles in the South at its Thanjavur base in Tamil Nadu today.
The Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Bhadauria inducted the squadron at an impressive ceremony.
The newly reinstated 222-squadron, also known as the Tigersharks, would serve as a lethal weapons platform capable of carrying both aerial and maritime roles in the Indian Ocean Region.
General Bipin Rawat said, Thanjavur is strategically located in the southern peninsula. He said, from there, the Tigersharks can dominate the seas and provide very close and integrated support to the Indian Navy. He said, it can also provide support to the land forces.
Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Bhadauria said, the Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft integrated with the supersonic cruise missiles BrahMos is the strongest maritime combination that we have, in terms of weapon capability. He said, Thanjavur is the ideal location because of the easy access from there to the east and the west sides and also to the Indian Ocean Region. He said, it will bring huge capability in support of the Indian Navy.
Later, addressing the media, the Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said, the tri-forces of the country are moving towards better integration. When asked about the possible threats, he said, all the defence services are tasked to be prepared for any option that may emerge. He said, the Defence Forces are always prepared for any task that they are assigned.
Induction of 222 Squadron at Air Force Station Thanjavur
No 222 Squadron, the Tigersharks were inducted at Air Force Station Thanjavur in a ceremony attended by General Bipin Rawat, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Chief of the Air Staff, Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman, DRDO, Air Marshal Amit Tiwari, Air Officer Commanding – in – Chief (AOC-in-C), Southern Air Command (SAC), Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain, Flag Officer Commanding – in – Chief (FOC-in-C), Eastern Naval Command (ENC), Mr R Madhavan, Chairman cum Managing Director, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and other Dignitaries on Monday, 20 Jan 2020.
On arrival, General Bipin Rawat, the CDS was received by Group Captain Prajual Singh VM, Station Commander, Air Force Station Thanjavur.
General Bipin Rawat in his address said that the resurrection of the ‘Tigersharks’ highlighted the Integration and Jointness which is the future of the Indian Armed Forces. He brought out that Su-30 MKI aircraft along with the BrahMos will be the game-changer which will extensively enhance the security of the Maritime domain. The Squadron will be operating closely with the Indian Army and Navy to get the ball rolling in jointness of the Indian Armed Forces.
Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Chief of Air Staff, in his address thanked the CDS for being at the ceremony. He said that it was a historic day for the Indian Air Force, Southern Air Command, Air Force Station Thanjavur and 222 Squadron. He spoke of the decision to choose Thanjavur as the base for induction of the SU 30 MKI squadron because of its strategic location and complimented Southern Air Command and all personnel of AFS Thanjavur for their efforts towards advancing the induction of the squadron by almost a year.
The induction ceremony culminated with a flying display by Light Combat Aircraft, Sarang Helicopter Display Team and Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team.