The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to resurrect its 222 Tigersharks squadron with Sukhoi Su-30 MKIs armed with BrahMos missiles at the Air Force Station in Tamil Nadu's Thanjavur on Monday (January 20).
With the capability to strike targets over the vast seas surrounding India's western, eastern and southern coasts, the Tigersharks will help the country maintain a tight vigil over strategically important Indian Ocean Region (IOR). The Tigersharks Squadron was raised on September 15, 1969, with Su-7 fighters and later flew the MiG-27 jets. Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will oversee the induction ceremony of Su-30MKIs with BrahMos missiles in the 222 Squadron (Tigersharks).
In December 2019, the IAF had successfully launched BrahMos Air-Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) from Su-30 MKI against a sea target. The successful launch of BrahMos missile made IAF the “game-changer” in the 21st century. The successful launch of BrahMos missile also added to IAF's capability as it is now capable of strikoing from large stand-off ranges on any target both at sea or on land.
There are over 250 Su-30MKIs in the IAF arsenal and the force will finally operate 272 such jets. While the jet is configured to carry one 30 mm Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-30-1 autocannon along with 8,130 kilogrammes of external armament including missiles and bombs on its 12 hardpoints, the IAF is modifying 42 Su-30MKIs to launch the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. IAF's lethality will increase manifolds once the modified Su-30MKIs capable of launching BrahMos missiles join the service.