The Indian Air Force Just Found a Unique Use for an Su-30MKI

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- An Indian Air Force SU-30K jet touches down at Mountain Home Air Force Base, along with seven others, to train with Airmen here July 17. This is the first time in history the Indian Air Force has been on American soil to train with US fighters. They will be taking advantage of Mountain Home's vast air space and multiple ranges to better prepare their aircrews for future flying missions. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Ryan Crane) (Released by Staff Sgt. Brian Stives, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office)

The Sukhoi Su-30MKI Flanker-H is currently the most advanced multirole air superiority fighter in Indian service. Exceedingly successful at the air-to-air mission, and more than capable in the air-to-ground role as well, the Indian Air Force chose well when they decided to procure the curvy aircraft back in the late 1990s. But fighting apparently isn’t all the Flanker-H can do… According to The Golden Sparrow, an Indian newspaper published in the city of Pune, the IAF used one of their Flankers to transport a liver and a kidney for two patients at a military hospital in New Delhi, both in urgent need of the transplanted organs. The flight was just around 80 minutes in duration, mostly thanks to the Flanker’s speed, and both patients were saved. You can read more on the story by clicking the link below:

Kidney, liver for transplant rushed in a fighter plane

Back in 2002, the US Marine Corps air wing performed a similar mission with a group of CH-46 Sea Knights from HMX-1, the squadron tasked with flying the President of the United States. Colonel John Ripley, one of the most celebrated Marines in history required a liver transplant as a result of an illness due to his service in Vietnam. Very close to death, with Last Rites already administered, the Commandant of the Marines Corps ordered the CH-46s to fly to Philadelphia to pick up a liver that was deemed a proper patch for Ripley, then had them fly back to Washington DC with the liver, setting down on a special landing zone in the city. The ensuing surgery was successful, and Ripley’s life was saved. While these stories aren’t ground-breaking developments in military aviation, nor are they anything classified in the realm of “big news”, I still like sharing them from time to time for a daily smile or two!

About Ian D'Costa (240 Articles)
Ian is the editor-in-chief of the Tactical Air Network. His work has been republished and quoted in a number of publications, including The Toronto Star, Airsoc, Business Insider and The Aviationist. You can reach him at

1 Comment on The Indian Air Force Just Found a Unique Use for an Su-30MKI

  1. Thanks for that ‘news’ – Su30MKI is truly a multi-role aircraft!!
    Incidentally, the IAF fighters have operated out of Eilson AFB (Alaska) Ex Cope Thunder in 2004 and from Nellis AFB (Las Vegas) Ex Red Flag in 2008. Transport aircraft participated in Cope Thunder even earlier – 2002 I think.


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