Many ask what actually transpired in the high voltage theatre skirmish between IAF & PAF in Indian airspace? Here is the timeline based on sources.
9:52 AM – Indian Netra & Northern Air command detect ten F16 taking off from 3 Airbases in Pak. They came in 3 groups & merged in attack formation near POK.
9:54 AM – India scrambled 2 Mig 21 Bisons & 4 Sukoi MKi to intercept 10 PAK F16.
9.58 AM – India sounded alert to PAF fighters that you are about to encroach Indian air space. Please evade.
9.59 AM – India sounded alert # 2 to PAF with IFAC protocols which they ignored.
10:00 AM – PAF violates Indian airspace with Swarm merge attack formation which is tactical in nature.
10:01 AM – Nine F16 forced to deviate path & within 1 KM of airspace, they returned to POK after heavy surface to air ground artillery & valiant fight from our Sukoi and MiGs.
10:02 AM – One PAK F16 went deep inside Indian territory probably 3 KMs to destroy an Oil storage at an army brigade HQ.
10:03 AM – One IAF Sukoi and one Mig 21 Bison (Abhinandan) continued engaging the F16 in a dog fight maneuver called ‘Defensive split’.
Mig 21 was in the front, then F16 and then a Sukoi. Due to firing from Sukoi, F16 flees the scene using a dog fight maneuver called ‘Wingover’.
10:04 AM – Sukoi hovered around oil field guarding it and Mig 21 Bison (Abhinandan) chased F16 out of Indian territory.
While chasing, he engaged F16 in a lock-in position for his R73 air to air missile deployment. Here Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman could have returned to base but the missile lock in would have been disengaged (out of radar coverage) & not be able to shoot F16. THIS SUMS UP HIS BRAVERY.
He decides to chase him down to POK to shoot him down.
10:08 AM – He engaged his R73 missile that hit the F16 and drowned him. After shooting him down, he performed a highly dangerous maneuver called ‘High G Barrel Roll’.
He had to do this because he had been in the vicinity of Pakistan’s surface to air artillery and SAM. While doing so he had to vertically climb at high speed and reverse its direction towards India. And, thats where his old outdated MiG 21 Bison’s engine thrust had a problem.
He became almost non-maneuverable for few secs. And during that time either a SAM or air artillery hit his plane. Thats what technically happened beyond what meets the eye. It requires exceptional piloting skills, ability & courage to drown F16 with vintage era antiquated MiG.
Now, think if Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman had access to an advance fighter series, what would be the result? Who is responsible for the delay? And why are questions being asked about Rafale with an intention to delay the induction into Indian Airforce? Who benefits from delay? Let India decide!
India hopes to see Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman on Rafale Jets soon and will pray for his speedy recovery. Its not easy to fly again after ejecting an aircraft but considering the bravery and valour of the hero, India is sure of his return.