IAF chief, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman fly sortie of MiG-21
New Delhi, Sep 02: In a major breakthrough, (Indian Air Force) IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa and Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman on Monday flew a sortie in a MiG-21 fighter aircraft.
During Pakistani counter attack on India on Feb 27 in response to Balakot airstrikes, Abhinandan had flown a MiG 21 Bison fighter into PoK.
The India Air Force Chief is also a MiG-21 pilot and had flown the planes during the 1999 Kargil war while commanding the 17 Squadron, during the war.
Varthaman returned to the fighter cockpit, nearly six months after sustaining injuries while ejecting from a fighter plane during an aerial combat between India and Pakistan on February 27.
The 36-year-old IAF pilot was captured by the Pakistani Army on February 27 after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani jets during aerial combat.
Before his jet was hit, he downed an F-16 fighter of Pakistan. Varthaman was released on the night of March 1 by Pakistan.
He had sustained injuries while ejecting from his MiG 21 Bison during the aerial combat and was taken off flying duties because of it.
Varthaman was conferred Vir Chakra, the coveted wartime gallantry medal, for downing the F-16 jet of Pakistan during the aerial combat. Vir Chakra is the third highest gallantry award after the Paramvir Chakra and the Mahavir Chakra.