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Squadron 222

The most ferocious and feared shark is an apt symbol for the fury and destruction power of MiG-27 aircraft. The deep penetration strike fighter bomber bears a striking resemblance to Tigersharks. Akin to Tigershark, it has the capability to venture far and wide in search of its prey. The capability of delivering enormous load in inflicting mass destruction is in resemblance to the voracious nature of Tigersharks. Like a Tigershark, a MiG-27 can achieve ultra high speed in no time making use of its swing wings.

"VINASHAY DUSHKRTAM" means "DESTROYER OF THE EVIL". 222 Squadron equipped with the MiG-27 aircraft known as the Tigershark is capable of inflicting a mortal blow to its prey without remorse of fear.

222 Squadron was raised at Ambala on 15 September 1969 equipped with SU-7 aircraft. The Squadron moved to Halwara in July 1971 and was soon engaged in active combat operations in the 1971 war. The Squadron launched counter air strikes against Risalewala and Chander Airfields with immense success despite stiff enemy opposition. Close Air Support was centered around Dra-Baba-Nanak, Husseinwala and Firozpur sectors. Numerous strikes were launched against enemy armour, gunpositions and troops which virtually paralysed the armour thrust and exposed its weak flanks for the Indian armour. Short term interdiction missions were directed against rolling stock, rail tracks, marshalling yeards, bridges and enemy convoys. In this the Squadron achieved remarkable success. Photo recee missions were launched deep into enemy territory against enemy radars. The Squadron was highly decorated for its role during the conflict with one MVC, three Vr C, three VMs and two Mentioned in Despatches.

The Squadron shifted back to Ambala in May 1975 and continued to operate from there until May 1981. On 14 May 81, the Squadron shifted to Hindon. In December 1985, the Squadron became the first unit in the IAF, to be equipped with MiG-27 aircraft. The then Prime Minister, Late Shri Rajiv Gandhi, visited the Squadron and named it "The Tigersharks". The Squadron moved to Air Force Station Hasimara on 19 May 1989.

The Tigersharks having been the first Squadron to fly the new versatile MiG-27, also named Bahadur, have become a potent strike force of the IAF. This aircraft is a supersonic, all weather, advanced strike fighter featuring strike capability over long ranges with a stable weapon platform and also capable of delivering an assortment of guided and unguided weapons with great accuracy at high speeds creating havoc among the enemy camps.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) commissioned its first permanent squadron of 222 Tigersharks in southern India with the induction of the BrahMos armed multirole Su-30MKI on 20 January 2020. The force has deployed the squadron at a time when China has increased its presence in the northern part of the Indian Ocean. The squadron will play a crucial role in the region, with immense support to the maritime forces as well.

Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Air Force Chief Air Marshal R.K.S Bhadauria witnessed the ceremony at the Air Force Base in Thanjavur city, Tamil Nadu state. A defence official said the squadron would comprise six jets initially, but later it will be scaled up to 18.

"The Indian Ocean Region (IOR), a central maritime spread bordering three continents, has an important role to play in regional peace, security, and prosperity. The IAF, an intrinsically strategic force, is all set to extend its reach into the vast IOR," Air Marshal Amit Tiwari said in a statement. Tiwari, who is also Commander-in-Chief of the Southern Air Command, added the force would also expand the base and "additional land is being acquired, next to the existing base. We expect to complete the expansion in around four years".

Indeed, the BrahMos anti-ship missile a success story of Indo-Russian defense partnership is a highly potent weapon boasting supersonic speeds with a range of about 300km and renders most countermeasures invalid. The missile was reportedly successfully test-fired from a Sukhoi-30MKI in May 2019, scoring a direct hit on the target. The Sukhois, which have a range of around 1,200km, significantly increase India's capability to strike targets deep in the Indian Ocean and to virtually cover most shipping lanes in the region.

The new No. 222 Squadron, named Tiger Sharks', will initially have around five to six fighter jets but gradually it will operate with a full strength of 18 aircraft. This is the first fighter squadron to be set up by the Indian Air Force in its Southern Command covering the Indian Peninsula. Retired Air Vice-Marshal Manmohan Bahadur stated: The requirement of having a permanent footprint of Indian air power over the Indian Ocean was lacking. With the basing of Sukhois at Thanjavur, this deficiency would be overcome to a certain extent due to the deep strike capabilities of the aircraft.

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Page last modified: 23-01-2020 17:43:53 ZULU