The Indian Air Force on Monday inducted its frontline Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft into the 221 Squadron, ‘Valiants’, at its base in Punjab, enhancing the IAF’s capabilities, an official release said. Su-30 MKI is a state-of-the-art all-weather multi-role fighter jet capable of undertaking varied air combat and ground attack missions. Developed by Russia’s Sukhoi, it is built under licence by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
The induction of Sukhoi fighter jets at a frontline base close to the India-Pakistan border will act as a force-multiplier for the defence forces.
The Western Air Command chief, Air Marshal C. Hari Kumar handed over documents pertaining to the first Su-30 MKI aircraft to Squadron’s Commanding Officer, Wing Commander H.S. Luthra, during the induction ceremony. Daljeet Singh, Chief Executive Officer, MiG Complex, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, was also present.
The ‘Valiants’ was formed as an offensive fighter squadron in February 1963 at Barrackpore (West Bengal). It was then equipped with Vampires, Spitfire, Hurricane and Su-7 aircraft. Su-7 aircraft dominated the East Pakistan’s skies in support of the Indian Army’s blitzkrieg advance in the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation war.
Later, the squadron was equipped with MiG-23, the Russian swept-back wing fighter-bombers, which were the first to fire at the enemy during the Kargil War of 1999. The squadron flew MiG-23 aircraft till 2009.