Sukhoi-30 warplanes to be deployed in Tezpur by Oct


Dismissing reports that infrastructure at the air base is inadequate to deploy the Su-30 MKIs, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Air Command Air Marshal S K 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 told reporters. Asked how many squadrons of the jets will be deployed in the north east, he said it depends on the IAF assessment.

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. The Su30 MKI multi-role combat jets have aerial refuelling capability and a combat radius of 1,500 km.

Besides Tezpur, a full squadron of the fighter planes will also be deployed at the Chabua base in Eastern Assam, subsequently. The IAF is also contemplating deploying another squadron at the Bagdogra air base in the region, an IAF official said.

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 will be through, the Air Force will 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 French Dassault Rafale, European Consortium EADS' Eurofighter, US Lockheed Martin's F-16 Viper, Boeing's F-18 Super Hornet, Swedish Gripen and the Russian MIG-35.

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