Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter aircraft armed with BrahMos air-launched supersonic cruise missiles were inducted into Indian Air Force's 222 Tigersharks Squadron at the Thanjavur Air Force Station in Tamil Nadu on Monday (January 202, 2020). A water salute was given to the Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter at the induction ceremony at Thanjavur.
Speaking on the occasion IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria pointed out that the decision to deploy the Su-30MKI at Thanjavur airbase was taken due to its strategic location. The airbase is located in Tamil Nadu and the Su-30MKIs with their 1,500 kilometres combat radius and the air-launched BrahMos which have a range of 400 km will ensure the IAF is able to patrol the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and vast areas of the Indian Ocean. The Su-30MKIs and their deadly arsenal will help the IAF keep a hawkeye on the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and thwart any intrusion by enemy ships close to the country's coast.
— ANI (@ANI) January 20, 2020
"The Su-30MKI inducted here is equipped with special weapon (BrahMos supersonic cruise missile). The integration of the air-launched version of the BrahMos missile with the Su-30MKI fighter has been done fully indigenously by BrahMos Aerospace, HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) and the India Air Force," said ACM Bhadauria
At present, the Tigersharks has six Su-30MKI fighters but it will have 18 combat aircraft by the end of 2020, making it a full-fledged IAF fighter squadron.
With the BrahMos air-launched supersonic cruise missiles with a range of over 400 kms under their belly, the Su-30MKIs are one of the most potent weapons in the IAF armoury. The air-launched version of BrahMos is about 500 kilogrammes lighter than its land and ship-launched cousins. Weighing almost 2,500 kgs, the BrahMos arming Su-30MKIs can destroy targets on sea flying at a speed of almost Mach 3 ( over 3704 kilometres per hour).
With China flexing its muscle in the IOR in the last few years, IAF's move to station the Tigersharks Squadron with Su-30 MKIs in Thanjavur will ensure that all its (China) moves are under close scrutiny,