Indian Air Force to house Sukhoi squadron in Thanjavur | Deccan Chronicle
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Indian Air Force to house Sukhoi squadron in Thanjavur

DC | S. Sujatha | 19th May 2013

Chennai: Thanjavur, which was only known for the big temple and pilgrim spots, has now found a place on world’s military map. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has upgraded the decades old airstrip into a modern one to house Sukhoi-30 MK-I fighter squadron.

Experts say  Thanjavur airspace is uninterrupted and so it will be an ideal location to base the fighter planes. Sukhoi squadrons are currently present in Pune, Bareilly, Tezpur, Chabua, Halwara and Jodhpur.

“It will be a great pride to the armed forces to have an IAF operations base at Thanjavur. Any establishment, be it weapons, aircraft or troops, is generally based on strategic and threat perception,” said a retired Indian Air Force official. He added that it is not unusual to disburse squadrons from peace locations for ease of operations.

Air Vice Marshal (retd) K. Sridharan pointed out that the number of ships passing through the Malacca Strait has increased now. “When there is requirement for air element to protect the sea-lane, the Sukhoi fighter squadron could be utilized,” he said.

He further added that expensive equipment couldn’t be kept fully near the first line of defence. We need to keep some forces away from the range of China and Pakistan. If in case, the first line is neutralized, then we can shift these forces up north quickly,” he added.

A retired Naval official recalled the 1941 attack, when Chennai was evacuated. “The government had to rush forces from the North to Tamil Nadu by road. So, by placing a fighter squadron in the South, it would increase the mobility of armed forces and also act as a deterrent value,” he added. At the moment, the southern air command in Thiruvananthpuram looks after the operations of IAF in this region.

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awadhesh kumar's picture
by awadhesh kumar (not verified) on
invaders who came in from the north mostly had to turn back after some looting. a few managed to stay and eventually became INDIANS. those who came from sea via down south looted the most and the first to come. finally had to be thrown out in 1961. therefore adding teeth to the SOUTHERN AIR COMMAND makes lots of sense from operational, training, logistics, dispersal and many other angles.

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