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Indian air force deploys sukhoi-30 fighters in NE region
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17:58, June 15, 2009

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The Indian Air Force (IAF) deployed four frontline combat aircraft Sukhoi-30MKI in the northeastern region Monday, reported the private Indo-Asian News Service.

The news agency quoted a defense spokesperson as saying four multi-role strike fighter jets at the IAF base in Tezpur, about 185 km north of Assam's main city of Guwahati, would soon be part of a Sukhoi-30MKI squadron comprising of 18 aircraft.

Air Marshal S.K. Bhan, air officer commanding-in-chief of the Eastern Air Command, attended the ceremony for welcoming the arrival of the four fighters at the IAF base, although the media were kept out of bounds, said the report.

Capable of carrying nuclear weapons and tailor-made for Indian specifications, the Su-30 MKI is a variant of the Sukhoi Su-30 and is jointly-developed by Russia's Sukhoi Corporation and India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the IAF, said the report.

Tezpur has become the third dedicated Sukhoi-30MKI airbase in the country after Pune in western India and Bareilly in northern India.

Currently, India operates five squadrons of this Russian-built fighter aircraft with three squadrons stationed at Lohegaon in Pune and two in Bareilly. Each squadron operates from 18 to 20 aircraft, said the report.

The IAF plans to increase the strength of its Sukhoi fleet to nearly 200 over the next five years.

The IAF is also going to upgrade the five bases in the eastern and northeastern parts of the country, including Tezpur, Chabua, Jorhat (Assam), Panagarh (West Bengal) and Purnea (Bihar), according to the report.

Source: Xinhua

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