The government of India, on the eve of the 73rd Independence Day, has announced a bunch of gallantry awards for defence sector personnel of India and these include a number of Indian Air Force fighter pilots who had carried out the much famous Balakot airstrikes earlier this year. As per the recent announcement of the Defence Ministry, five IAF pilots are announced to have been conferred with the Vayu Sena Medal for gallantry for the bravery they exhibited while dropping bombs on the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp in Pakistan. This was one of the most successful airstrikes conducted by the IAF in the history of India-Pakistan war and hence, the pilots carrying out this operation rightly deserves to be honoured for their valour.
The five Mirage-2000 fighter pilots who destroyed the JeM camp in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s province by entering Pakistani airspace and came out victoriously are Wing Commander Amit Ranjan and Squadron Leaders Rahul Basoya, Pankaj Bhujade, Shashank Singh and BKN Reddy. This has to be mentioned at this point that the Indian Air Force entered into the Pakistan Airspace to attack its ground for the first time in 48 years. The airstrike on the Pakistani terror group was conducted following a heinous suicide bombing attack carried out by the terror group JeM.
It was after this airstrike by the IAF that Pakistan closed its airspace for all sorts of flights and opened only recently for being used by all sorts of commercial flights of the world.
However, the names of the IAF pilots, who carried out the airstrike on Pakistan, has been revealed only now for the Vayu Sena Gallantry awards as the Air Force kept the names secret from the world for so long.
The pilots performing the airstrike on Pakistan on February 26 had used Mirage 2000s. The pilots also used Sukhoi 30s MKi that acted as decoys and provided a cover so that the Mirages do not get intercepted. Phalcon AWACS and Embraer AEWS mid-air refuellers along with Heron drones were also used by the Indian Air Force in order to click photographs of the targets after the attack.