Somewhere on the Western front....

Squadrons of Sukhoi-30MKI “air dominance’’ fighters, now permanently based in Jodhpur (Rajasthan) and Halwara (Punjab), are fully-operational and integrated with the order of battle on the western front. Similarly, the first two nodes of IACCS (integrated air command and control system) have become operational in the western sector to make airspace more impregnable to hostile threats. The nodes integrate older sensors like THD-1955 long-range surveillance radars with newer ones like ATCR-22, Rohini and medium-power radars as well as Aerostats and Phalcon AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) to plug gaps in the country’s air defence cover. India till recently had based its Sukhois — IAF so far has inducted around 160 of the 272 fighters contracted from Russia in deals worth Rs 55,717 crore—only in Pune and Bareilly, which were followed by Tezpur and Chabua in Assam to cater to the threat from China. The decision to base them in Jodhpur and Halwara was taken to meet the Pakistan challenge, especially since older MiG-21s and MiG-23BNs were being progressively phased out. “With Pakistan acquiring American F-16s and Chinese JF-17 ‘Thunder’ jets, the induction of Sukhoisthere will act as a strong deterrent against any misadventure,’’ said a source. 
The Army, too, is strengthening its capabilities on the western front by “optimising offensive and defensive formations with minimum accretions’’ since the proposed raising of the new mountain strike corps and other formations for the northeast are geared towards countering China.Operational synergy and coordination between the Western Air Command, which controls air operations over 400,000 sq km stretching from Ladakh till Bikaner, and three Army commands—Northern (Udhampur), Western (Chandimandir) and South-Western (Jaipur)—has also been stepped up. 

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