Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s last radio message before ejecting his Mig-21 Bison was, “R-73 selected”. He then let loose the Vympel R-73 air-to-air missile at the Pakistan fighter jet, F-16, before he himself was hit. The dogfight between the Indian fighter jet and the Pakistan warplane started after the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) violated the Indian airspace on February 27. The PAF fighters dropped bombs at army formation camps in West of Rajouri in Sunderbani of Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan Air Force Pilot Shahzaz Ud Din Whose F-16 Was Shot Down by Wg Cd Abhinandan Varthaman Mistaken to be Indian; Lynched by PoK Locals?
After ejecting from his MIg-21 Bison, his parachute drifted in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) where he was taken into custody by the Pakistani Army. A day after the Indian Air Force (IAF) destroyed terror camps of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26, the PAF fighter jets violated the Indian airspace. Pakistan deployed F-16s, JF-17s and Mirage-5 attack jets in “a large strike packages” to retaliated against the IAF’s action. Pakistan’s F-16 Which Violated Indian Air Space Shot Down by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman with Mig-21 Bison; IAF Presents Cover of AMRAAM Missile As Evidence.
Wg Cdr Varthaman was part of a team comprosing of six Mi-21 Bison pilots who took off from Srinagar, apart from Su-30 MKIs, Mig-29s and Mirage-2000s from other air force stations. According to reports, the dogfight lasted for about 15 minutes, during which the IAF pilot managed to “lock on” to PAF’s F-16 and then fired R-73 missile. It is a short-range air-to-air missile developed by Vympel NPO. Lockheed Martin Busts Pakistan’s Lie; American Aircraft Manufacturer Not to Sue India For Claiming IAF’s MiG-21 Bison Shot Down PAF F-16 Fighter Jet.
The IAF officer was released almost after 60 hours by Pakistan on March 1. After his return from Pakistan via the Attari-Wagah border late on Friday night, the IAF pilot underwent a series of medical tests at Army’s Research and Referral (R&R) hospital in Delhi. As per reports, he sustained a rib fracture, back contusion (bruise on lower back) and some bruises on the face, head and hands. The hospital confirmed that the IAF pilot did not suffer any ‘significant’ injury.