Thiruvananthapuram: The Southern Air Command of
IAF would "add more teeth" to its capabilities to combat the
menace of pirate activities, that are inching "closer" to the
Indian territory, outgoing SAC chief Sumit Mukerji has said.
Addressing a farewell press meet last evening after
completing four decades of his meritorious service, the Air
Officer Commanding-in-Chief said SAC would get new assets to
reach out to the Indian ocean where the pirate activities were
"reasonably close" to the Lakshadweep islands.
The Command would "add more teeth to its air defence
capabilities with the Indian ocean region gaining strategic
importance," Mukerji said.
He said the Indian Navy was now well-equipped and engaged
in strong anti-piracy measures. "The pirates were also
reportedly upgrading their weaponry and mode of
Mukerji said the Indian ocean, being a vast area, the
identification of a pirate ship "remains a problem".
"The pirates were fearless and merged with other ships on
the sea and they could be identified only when they attack
other ships," he said.
He also said the air bases at Tanjore and Sulur (both in
Tamil Nadu) would soon become fully operational. While Tanjore
would have a Sukhoi-30 fighter squadron soon, a light combat
aircraft squadron would be set up at the Sulur unit by
Besides the Suo-30 fighters, Tanjore would have an Unmanned
Aerial Vehicle (UAV) squadron, a transport aircraft squadron
and a radar unit, he said.
"It will be like an umbrella over the Indian ocean. Our
radars are also integrated with that of the Navy and the
Airport Authority of India," Mukherji said.