The Indian Air Force had flown several fighter jets from as many as 20 air bases to attack the terror camps across the Line of Control during the pre-dawn attack on Tuesday. News Nation has learnt that only two fighter jets were used in the air strike and rest of the 10 aircraft were used to protect these combat jets. Latest media reports say that fighter jets were flown from Gwalior, Bathinda and Ambala. The mega formation included Mirage 2000, Matra close combat missile and Heron drone, an India Today report said. The report also said that nod for February 26 airstrike was given by the Indian Air Force chief on February 15. Reportedly a dry run was conducted on February 24. There were also reports that Pakistan had scrambled F-16s to intercept the Indian Air Force but abandoned seeing the Indian formation. The February 26 airstrike was coordinated by the IAF’s Western Air Command.
Defence experts say that Mirages would have used 500 kg laser-guided bombs. The Mirage 2000s may have used Israeli lightening laser designator pods to drop their precision bombs.Though Pakistan has tweeted the photos of large craters, the actual impact of the airstrike will be revealed by the satellite images.
The Balakot terror camp was developed in 2000-2001, a Times Now report said. It also added that the terror facility was overseen by Saifur Rehman Saifi, who had introduced suicide bombings to the terror outfits. A BBC report said that local residents of Balakot were woken up by loud blasts at 3-4 am. The 12 Mirage-2000 hit the statue of Masood Azhar on Mount Jaish with 1,000 Kg bombs. Curiously, the Pakistan Air Force had ‘demonstrated tactical preparedness by releasing flares in Cholistan desert, a report said.
Meanwhile, the IAF has put all air defence systems on high alert. “Indian Air Force has put on high alert all air defence systems along the international border and LoC to respond to any possible action by Pakistan Air Force,” tweeted ANI. Military establishment across LoC has also been put on high alert, sources said.
The airstrikes are seen as a way by India avenging the Pulwama terror attack. On February 14, around 40 CRPF personnel were killed when a suicide bomber rammed into a convoy while moving from Jammu to Srinagar in Lethpora area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Pakistan based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed the responsibility of the attack.