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Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman shot down the Pakistani Air Force’s F-16 on the morning of February 27 during a dogfight in the aftermath of the Balakot airstrike. Commemorating the bravery of the MiG21 squadron of which Wing Commander Abhinandan was a part, the 51 Squadron of the Indian Air Force has brought a new shoulder patch.
MiG21 Squadron based in Srinagar has been bestowed with the uniform patches that say ‘Falcon Slayers’ and ‘AMRAAM Dodgers’, honouring the Wing Commander's story of courage, resilience and fortitude.
The shoulder patch also features the MiG 21 Bison with which Wing Commander Abhinandan shot down the Pakistani F-16 place.
Take a look at the patch here:
Wing Commander Abhinandan was part of a 4-aircraft strong MIG-21 Bison Combat Air Patrol (CAP) formation above Srinagar. At a time of heightened alertness, their task was to patrol Srinagar's airspace.
On 27 February 2019, Varthaman was flying a MiG-21 as a part of a troop that was dispatched to intercept an intrusion by Pakistan aircraft into Jammu and Kashmir. Amid the dogfight that ensued, the Wing Commander entered into Pakistan territory where he was struck by a missile.
In the high-altitude dogfight that ensued, flying a 1960s aircraft, Wing Commander Abhinandan used his close-combat R73 missile to shoot down a Pakistani F-16 - an unheard of feat.
He has been nominated by the Air Force for the Vir Chakra. Recently, he has resumed his flying duties from an airbase in along the Pakistan border. After he resumed his services, a video went viral showing Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman interacting with his colleagues in Jammu & Kashmir.
In the video posted by news agency ANI, Varthaman was seen posing for many selfies with the various Army officers who were seen cheering him with shouts of "Bharat Mata ki Jai".