Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 14
In a major development, India is set to induct the BrahMos missile-equipped Sukhoi 30-MKI fighter jets at Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu.
The formal induction will be done next week under the re-raised the 222 Squadron — The Tigersharks — of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The Russian-origin Sukhoi’s will be mandated for a maritime role. In lay parlance, the jets can be used for sea strikes using the BrahMos missile, sources said. So far, the IAF had been using the Jaguar for a sea-role and also in the past the MiG-27 was used. The range of the Sukhoi is far greater and is capable of carrying the air-version of the BrahMos which weighs about 2.5 tonnes.
The IAF will have the only air-launched supersonic weapon of its kind in the world that can be fired from an air platform at a target at sea.
The BrahMos has a minimum range of 290 km. The Sukhoi 30 MKI, has a flight radius of some 1,000 km extendable by mid-air refuelling, hence allowing a strike at target far-off at sea.
The IAF’s capability to fire the supersonic cruise missile from the Sukhoi 30-MKI, will allow pilots to stay away from the reach of enemy missiles.
On December 17, the IAF had carried out the third successful firing a BrahMos missile from the Sukhoi-30 MKI, completing the integration of the supersonic missile with the fighter jet.
The test was conducted in ‘user configuration’ meaning it was in a configuration as it would be used by the IAF in a real-time scenario.
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