New Delhi, May 15: Wing Commander Abhinandan Vardaman's squadron got ‘Falcon Slayers’ and ‘AMRAAM Dodgers’ patches to commemorate the February 27 dogfight in which, the Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot shot down Pakistan Air Force’s F-16 jet. The squadron 51 of the IAF got a new shoulder patch in the MiG-21 Bison with which Wg Cdr Varthaman shot down the Pakistani F-16 jet is featured. IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman Returns to his Squadron in Srinagar.
The patch depicts a MiG-21 Bison in the foreground and a red-coloured F-16 in the background under crosshairs. Meanwhile, the Sukhoi-30 squadron has also named themselves as the ‘AMRAAM Dodger’ in new patches for countering the Pakistani air attack and evading the AMRAAM missiles of the PAF F-16s, reported the Indian Express. Video of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman Clicking Pictures With Colleagues From Indian Armed Forces Is Going Viral And It Is Heartening.
Wg Cdr Varthaman was part of a team comprising of six Mi-21 Bison pilots who took off from Srinagar, along with Su-30 MKIs, Mig-29s and Mirage-2000s from other air force stations in response to Pakistan’s airspace violation on February 27. The PAF fighters dropped bombs at army formation camps in West of Rajouri in Sunderbani of Jammu and Kashmir. According to reports, the dogfight lasted for about 15 minutes, during which the IAF shot down PAF’s F-16. Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman Wants to Start Flying as Soon as Possible.
During the aerial combat, the IAF let loose the Vympel R-73 air-to-air missile at the Pakistan fighter jet, F-16, before he himself was hit. After ejecting from his Mig-21 Bison, his parachute drifted in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) where he was taken into custody by the Pakistani Army. The IAF officer was released almost after 60 hours by Pakistan on March 1. Last month, the IAF also recommended Wg Cdr Varthaman for the Vir Chakra, the third highest wartime gallantry award.