Remembering the martyrdom of Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja during the 1999 Kargil War, Air force pilots led by Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa have paid a unique tribute to their fallen colleague by executing a 'Missing Man' formation flypast of MiG-21 aircraft from Bhisiana IAF station.
Visuals show three MiG-21 aircraft streaking across the sky the in the 'Missing man' formation with two planes ahead and a third plane lagging behind at considerable height. As the trinity fly over the airforce base, the planes drop their altitude. The formation then progresses with the third plane joining its compatriots and then the trio fly in a single horizontal line. Later the third plane is seen separating from the trio abruptly as the other two planes fly out of sight.
The 'missing man' formation is a traditional aerial salute as part of a flypast in the memory of a fallen pilot, a well-known military service member or a veteran, or a well-known political figure. The three-plane formation is significant as the fourth position which is usually occupied by the second element leader is kept consciously empty, honouring the fallen person.
This particular flypast was in honour of Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja who was killed in action on 27 May 1999 as a part of Operation Safed Sagar, while on a flight rescue mission over Batalik Sector. Ahuja was awarded the Vir Chakra posthumously for his gallantry during the Kargil war. The flypast was executed by Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, 20 years later, who was Ahuja's then-commanding officer. That particular mission also witnesses the loss of Flight Lt. Nachiketa, who was taken Prisoner of War (PoW). Dhanoa was also joined by Air Marshal R Nambiar.
Here are some of the stunning photos of today's flypast captured by Angad Singh featuring the original four-plane squadron too: