Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa and Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who piloted a MiG-21 Bison during the air strike at a terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot in, today flew together in a two-seater version of the Russian-origin legacy jet.
Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa undertook his last combat sortie on a MiG-21 aircraft a day before his retirement from the Indian Air Force. This is the last time IAF chief BS Dhanoa flies a fighter jet before retiring at the end of the month. This was the last sortie flown by ACM Dhanoa in a fighter aircraft before his retirement, the IAF said.
The two officers took off from the Pathankot airbase in Punjab. In response to the February 26 Balakot airstrike that saw the Indian Air Force enter Pakistan and bomb a terrorist facility located in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, the Pakistan Air Force attempted entering Indian airspace and targeting military infrastructure.
Indian Air Force chief BS Dhanoa who flew today’s sortie with Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman is also a MiG-21 pilot and had flown the fighter jet during the 1999 Kargil conflict.
“It was a pleasure for me to fly with Abhinandan because he has got his flying category back, that is what all pilots look forward to. I also ejected in 1988, it took me 9 months to get my category back. He has been back in less than 6 months,” said Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa.
“Both of us have two things in common — first, both of us ejected (laughs) and second, both of us have fought Pakistanis. I fought in Kargil, he fought after Balakot. Third, I’ve flown with his father. It’s an honour for me to do my last sortie in IAF, in a fighter aircraft, with his son,” he said.