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IAF deploys full Sukhoi squadron in Tezpur

A file photo.

SHILLONG (PTI): A full squadron of Sukhoi-30 aircraft have been deployed at Assam's Tezpur air base, while another squadron is expected to be brought to upper Assam base of Chabua by the end of the year.

The full complement of Sukhoi fighters arrived at Tezpur this June and the squadron is operational, defence sources said.

The air base at Chabua is being upgraded to house the warplanes which will subsequently replace the ageing MiGs. The sources said the runway, taxi track, hanger and other airfield infrastructure at Chabua air base is being upgraded.

Already the 'vintage' MiG-23 and MiG-25 aircraft have been phased out.

"Once adequate number of Sukhois and other modern aircraft come in, MiG-21s would also eventually phased out," sources said.

IAF has been expressing concern over the maintenance of the older generation aircraft like MiG-21s in the force which are operating since early 60s. There have been a number of incidents of MiG-21 crashes in the last couple of years.

Besides the Sukhois, the sources said once the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) deal is through, Air Force would deploy some of the squadrons in the eastern sector.

Currently, trials are being conducted with aircraft of six manufacturers for the 126 aircraft deal, officials said.

The MKI variants of the Su-30 warplanes were first inducted at Tezpur last year. Since then, the air base was also opened for civil aviation.

When four Su-30s landed at the base on June 12 last year 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 IAF was also contemplating to deploy another Su-30 squadron at Bagdogra air base in the region, the sources said.

Having aerial refuelling capability, Su-30 MKI multi-role combat aircraft have a combat radius of 1500 km. The MKI variant of the warplane which was inducted into IAF in 2002 are said to have an impeccable safety record.

Meanwhile, the sources said old Advanced Landing Grounds in Arunachal Pradesh are being upgraded as part of a massive security infrastructure development in the region.

IAF has conducted aerial recce in Arunachal Pradesh to identify sites where new ALGs could be set up.

"The ground recce will be done after monsoon. Over a dozen ALGs, including old ones, are likely to be developed in the state which borders China," sources said.


Air Force  Su-30  

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