Sukhois’ full complement in Tezpur by October

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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