Sunday, March 13, 2011
Sukhoi-30 power for Chabua IAF station
DIBRUGARH/GUWAHATI: The country's eastern sector bordering China got fortified on Tuesday with the induction of the Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter aircraft at the Chabua Air Force station.
The initiation was done through a symbolic ceremony with the inaugural flight of the SU-30 MKI taking off from here. It also performed an overshoot before landing.
Wing Commander K Sundaramani and Flt-Lt MB Walunj took off for the first sortie on the SU-30 in the presence of senior officers of the Indian Air Force, including Air Marshal KK Nohwar, Air Officer Commanding in Chief Eastern Air Command, Air Commodore Mrigendra Singh, Air officer Commanding, Air Force Station Chabua. This was followed by a fly past by three SU-30 MKI aircraft.
Speaking to the media, Air Marshal Nohwar said the induction of the highly sophisticated aircraft was part of the process to ascertain that the borders in the eastern part of the country remain free from any intrusion. "The Chabua station (102 Sqn, 14 Wing) is the easternmost fighter base of the country. It is the first line of defence in the east and the induction of the SU-30 will strengthen its capability," added Nohwar.
The Air Marshal said the Vijaynagar runway in Arunchal Pradesh was being repaired and will be soon open to operations of the fixed wing aircraft for better air maintenance. At present, the Air Force has a fleet of around 270 SU-30 aircraft.
Describing the special features of the fighter plane, Nohwar said the Su-30 MKI was a state-of-the-art aircraft for better maintenance.
Chabua is the second airbase in the northeast after Tezpur to house the Sukhois, capable of striking targets inside China with a cruising speed range of 3,200 km, which can be more than doubled with mid-air refuelling by IL-78 aircraft.
The Air Force base at Chabua was constructed in 1939. The air field was extensively used for launching operations against the Japanese. In 1962, the IAF commenced operations in response to the Chinese invasion of Tibet and threat to the northeast.
While India is only now trying to counter China's massive build-up of military infrastructure all along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control, the People's Liberation Army (Air Force) already has at least six fully-functional airbases in Tibet and three in south China. The Linzi airbase, for instance, is not even 30 km away from the LAC in Arunachal.