The Indian Air Force (IAF) has reaffirmed that it was Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who brought down the technologically superior F-16 of the Pakistan Air Force after a brief hot aerial pursuit before his MiG 21 was brought down on February 27, 2019.
Abhinandan Varthaman was awarded the Vir Chakra on Independence Day last year. The events of aerial battle have come out for the first time which elaborates minute by minute sequence.
‘Despite the enemy’s immense numerical and technological superiority, Wing Commander Varthaman proceeded to courageously engage the enemy aircraft package with utter disregard to his personal safety,’ mentions the citation of the gallantry award.
India had decided to strike the Jaish-e-Mohammed training facility at Balakot in a pre-dawn mission on February 26 last year. Pakistan Air Force launched a retaliatory strike the very next day penetrating the Indian Air Space into the Nowshera Sector where the aerial duel between the two air forces took place.
The Pakistan fighters included the advanced F-16 and JF-17 fighters and they were armed with beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missiles and advanced high-caliber air-to-ground stand-off weapons.
Wing Commander Varthaman was part of the mission launched from the Srinagar airbase to intercept the incoming enemy fighters.