Chabua (Assam): An additional squadron of advanced combat aircraft Sukhoi-30MKI is likely to be stationed at the Indian Air Force's eastern-most station in view of the strategic importance of the base.
Sharing the news here, Wing Commander Gaurav Mani Tripathy told journalists yesterday on the eve of the 81st Air Force Day that the Sukhoi-30MKI multi-role fighter plane squadron is used to patrol the skies in the region.
With the Mig-21 era coming to an end at the station - the last squadron moved out in 2009 - Tripathy said that the base underwent a major renovation and expansion of facilities in preparation for the induction of the Sukhoi-30MKI fighters, which arrived in February 2011.
Speaking about the Su-30MKI, Tripathy said the aircraft was manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) under licence from Russia's Sukhoi.
He said that the heavy, all-weather, long-range Indian variant of the fighter plane was more advanced than the basic SU-30MK and more capable than those used by China (SU30MKK/MK2) and Malaysia (SU-30MKM).
Talking about the Chabua base, he said, “The station has served as a major supply point for troops deployed in Arunachal Pradesh with various transport aircraft and helicopters operating from here.”
The Chabua base was built in 1939 and used throughout World War II by Allied Forces against invading Japanese forces.
As an IAF base, Chabua took on a training role as MiG-21s were based here for the instruction of young fighter pilots, Tripathy said.
On the occasion of the 81st anniversary of the IAF, the station is set to achieve all tasks in peace or in war, in line with the IAF's credo of ‘People First, Mission Always', the Wing Commander added.
“Over the years, the transport and helicopter fleets have emerged as the lifelines for both our troops at forward posts, as well as the civilian population in remote areas and in times of natural disasters,” he added.