Nashik (Maharashtra): Marking a red-letter day for the 11 Base Repair Depot (BRD), Ojhar, the first indigenously overhauled Sukhoi Su-30MKI supersonic aircraft was handed over to the Operational Squadron of the Indian Air Force here on Friday.
Air Marshal Hemant Sharma, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Maintenance Command, formally handed over the gleaming overhauled Su-30MKI fighter aircraft to Air Marshal H.S. Arora, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, South Western Air Command at an impressive ceremony here.
The aircraft first took-off post-overhaul on April 24 and since then, it has been undergoing test flights before it was finally handed over to be inducted for operational tasks in a flying squadron.
"During the overhaul, the aircraft was stripped completely and rebuilt from scratch, replacing certain worn out parts/components. It has now become almost like a brand-new aircraft with its life-span doubled," a senior official told IANS.
Established in April 1974, the 11 BRD, Ojhar, is the only fighter aircraft repair depot of the IAF and undertakes repairs, renovations and overhaul of frontline fighters like the MIG-29 and now the Su-30MKI.
The 11 BRD progressively built and improved upon the technical expertise and infrastructure over the years and by 1983, it had overhauled 100 Su-7 aircraft.
From 1983, it undertook the overhaul of 28 MIG-21 aircraft and later set up a facility in 1986 to overhaul MIG-23s of which 248 were overhauled till May 2015.
In 1996, the overhaul facility for MIG-29s was set up and presently the upgradation of these aircraft, besides repairs and overhaul of the Su-30MKI has also been taken up at the 11BRD.
The Ojhar depot is the only agency to undertake the complete overhaul of ejection seats and role equipment of the Su-30MKI, both for the IAF and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.(HAL), Bengaluru.
Air Commmodore S.V. Borade, Officer Commanding, Air Force Station Ojhar, said that with this overhaul capability, the 11BRD has exhibited what the unit is capable of and is ever ready to tackle new challenges.
Besides 11BRD, HAL also overhauls and maintains the Su-30MKI, said an official.
The twin-finned, twin-jet multi-role Su-30MKI is capable of attaining speeds of Mach 2 (double the speed of sound or 2,120 kmph) at high altitudes and can carry guns, missiles, bombs, rockets and other weaponry.
The aircraft, developed by Russia, is now built at HAL under licence for the IAF since the past nearly two decades.