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The Indian Air Force (IAF) commissioned the 222 squadron, also known as ”Tigersharks”, for their Thanjavur base.
- The squadron has six Sukhoi-30 specially modified fighter jets, each carrying 2.5 tonne air-launched supersonic BrahMos cruise missile.
- The squadron based in this ancient Chola capital, about 340 kms from Chennai.
- Thanjavur was choosen as the base for the induction because of its strategic location.
- Expected to set right the military balance in the IOR, the Su-30 MKI is a state-of-the-art all-weather multi-role fighter aircraft capable of undertaking varied air defence, ground attack and maritime missions.
- The squadron based in Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu will keep a check on increase in Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean region.
- It will also augment Indian Navy”s strength and air strike capabilities of the military as a whole.
- The Indian Ocean Region, faced numerous challenges such as drug trafficking, piracy and maritime terrorism and the busiest trans-oceanic trade route.
- The IOR is so important that more than 80 per cent of India’s energy supply was routed through it and it is likely to grow to 95 per cent by 2025.
- An Indo-Russian joint venture weapon, is a medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile capable of being launched from submarines, warships, fighter jets or land.
- The 2.5-tonne missile has a strike range of nearly 300 km.
- The BrahMos cruise missile travels at a speed of Mach 2.8, nearly three times that of sound.
- The Sukhoi Su-30 is a twin-engine, two-seat supermaneuverable fighter aircraft developed in the Soviet Union by Russia’s Sukhoi Aviation Corporation.
- It is a multirole fighter for all-weather, air-to-air and air-to-surface deep interdiction missions.
- The Sukhois have a combat radius of almost 1,500 km without midair refuelling.
What can Tigersharks do?
- The fighter jets will give IAF the capability to strike from large stand-off ranges on any target at sea or on land with pin-point accuracy in day or night and all-weather conditions.
- The 222 squadron was raised at Ambala in 1969 with Sukhoi Su-7 aircraft.
- In July 1971, it was moved to Halwara and was engaged in combat with the Pakistan Air Force in the 1971 war.
- In 1985, the Tigersharks became the first Indian squadron to be equipped with the Mig-27 aircraft and it is now being “resurrected,” with the Su-30 MKI at Thanjavur.
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