On April 24, the Su-30 MKI aircraft was inducted into 221 Squadron, Valiants, of the Indian Air Force (IAF). Air Marshal C. Hari Kumar, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command IAF was the chief guest. The Valiants which flew Mig-23 aircraft till 2009, is now equipped with the formidable Su-30 MKI aircraft. The Su-30 MKI is a state of the art all weather multi role fighter aircraft capable of undertaking varied air combat and ground attack missions.
The Valiants were formed as an offensive fighter squadron on February 14, 1963, at Barrackpore with Sqn Ldr N. Chatrath as the first Commanding Officer. The Squadron was then equipped with three types of aircraft namely the Vampires, Spitfire, Hurricane and Su-7 aircraft. The squadron has changed many bases during its 44-four years long journey and has taken part in 1971 War and Kargil operations. Su-7 aircraft of the Valiants roared over East Pakistan in support of the Indian Army’s blitzkrieg advance in 1971. The Valiants, operating the MiG-23s, were the first ones to fire weapons on the enemy during the Kargil War. Many of the squadron pilots have been decorated with gallantry awards over the years.