Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to go on sortie in Sukhoi 30MKI
Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman will undertake a sortie in Indian Air Force’s frontline Su-30MKI combat aircraft over Jodhpur on Wednesday, while reviewing the operational preparedness of the force .
“The Defence minister will undertake the sortie to gauge and review the operational preparedness and combat capabilities of the armed forces,” an Air Force spokesperson said.
The Defence minister was earlier scheduled to fly the Su-30MKI last month, but she could not go there due to her involvement in the BJP duty to elect the chief minister of Himachal Pradesh after the conclusion of assembly polls.
Sitharaman would be sitting in the rear-seat behind the main pilot in the twin-seat Russian-origin plane. The squadron getting the honour to fly the Defence minister is 31 Squadron ‘Lions’, which is based out of Jodhpur.
Recently, the Defence minister had spent time on the INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier where she was shown the combat capabilities of the MiG-29K naval fighters along with other carrier operations of the maritime force.
Soon after taking over as Defence Minister, Sitharaman had visited the Air Force base in Jamnagar where she was briefed about the capabilities of the MiG 21 fighter plane and also the overall operations undertaken by the service.
The Su-30MKIs form the backbone of the Indian Air Force as 13 squadrons (over 270 planes) of the aircraft would be inducted in the force by the year 2020, replacing the outgoing MiG-21s and MiG 27s of the force.
The Jodhpur air base is part of Air Force’s Gandhinagar-based South Western Air Command whose area of responsibility is spread across Gujarat and Western Rajasthan against the Pakistan border.
On January 8 Sitharaman had visited the Goa naval area. She was accompanied by Admiral Sunil Lanba, the Chief of the Naval Staff. The Defence minister boarded Indian Naval Ships operating off Goa for ‘Raksha Mantri Day at Sea’.