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Air Force Day: Abhinandan's Unit, Squadron Who Carried Out Balakot Strikes To Be Awarded Citations

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s 51 Squadron Will Be Awarded Unit Citation By Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria.

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Pawas Kumar | Updated on: 06 Oct 2019, 11:25:57 AM

New Delhi:

On Air Force Day, the No. 51 Squadron will be awarded the unit citation by IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria. The unit will be awarded for thwarting the Pakistani aerial attack and shooting down a Pakistani F-16 during the dogfight on February 27. The award will be received by the commanding officer Group Captain Satish Pawar. Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was held captive for 60 hours in Pakistan after his aircraft was shot down during the aerial dogfight, belongs to this unit.

The No. 9 Squadron, whose Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft carried out the aerial strikes on Balakot on February 26, will also to be awarded a unit citation. The No. 9 Squadron, also known as Wolfpack, is a fighter squadron and is equipped with Mirage 2000 and based at Gwalior AFS under Central Air Command.

The 601 Signal unit of squadron leader Minty Agarwal will be awarded the unit citation for their role in Balakot aerial strikes and for thwarting the aerial attack by Pakistan on February 27. The citations will be awarded on Air Force Day on October 8 by Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria. 

The mission that targetted terror camps in Balakot was named Operation Spice. In this first of its kind mission, aircraft flew from Gwalior to Balakot located 1500 km away to carry out the attack. During the mission, the Mirage 2000 was refueled in mid-air.  The mission was codenamed 'Spice' as the Mirage was carrying Israeli spice bombs. 

Abhinandan Varthaman, who was captured after his MiG-21 was brought down during the February 27 dogfight with Pakistani Air Force F-16s, was conferred with Vir Chakra on the 73rd Independence Day. Varthaman was honoured for displaying exemplary bravery during the aerial conflict that occurred after India carried out an airstrike on Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camps in Pakistan's Balakot to avenge the February 14, 2019, Pulwama suicide bombing.

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First Published : 06 Oct 2019, 11:25:57 AM