Sukhois’ full complement in Tezpur by October
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Last Updated: Sunday, September 13, 2009, 13:28
Shillong: A full complement of the MKI variant of the Su30 warplanes will be deployed at the front line Tezpur air base in Assam by October.

Dismissing reports that infrastructure at the air base was inadequate to deploy the Su-30MKIs, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Air Command Air Marshal SK Bhan said, "the upgradation work at the air base has been completed and a full complement of the fighter jets would be deployed at the base by October."

"Su-30s have operated from the air base when the planes were formally inducted in the base on June 15," Bhan said.

Asked as to how many squadrons of the jets would be deployed in the Northeast, he said adequate number of planes depending on IAF assessment would be deployed in the region.

When four Su30s landed at the base on June 12 last for a symbolic induction, it was after a gap of more than a year that a fighter operated from the air base after the MIG fighters were moved out of the base.

Besides Tezpur, a full squadron of the fighter planes would also be deployed at the Chabua base in Eastern Assam subsequently. IAF was also contemplating deployment of another squadron at the Bagdogra air base in the region, an IAF official said.

Having aerial refueling capability, the Su30 MKI multi-role combat jets have a combat radius of 1,500 km.

At present, the IAF has five Sukhoi squadrons in two Sukhoi bases in Lohegan (near Pune), which is the home base for the aircraft where all squadrons are raised and rookie pilots trained, and Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh.

Air Marshal Bhan said once the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) deal would be through, the Air Force would deploy some of the squadrons in the eastern sector.

Currently, trials are being conducted with the aircraft of six manufacturers for 126 planes. The six aircraft are the French Dassault Rafale, European Consortium EADS' Eurofighter, US Lockheed Martin's F-16 Viper and Boeing's F-18 Super Hornet, Swedish Gripen and the Russian MiG-35.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, September 13, 2009, 13:28

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