New Delhi: Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman sent out a radio transmission from his MiG-21 “Bison” fighter jet saying that he had locked on to the Pakistani F-16 fighter which breached the Indian airspace west of Rajouri in Sunderbani area on February 27.
Retaliating to the Indian Air Force air strikes at the Balakot terror facility in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa region, Pakistan targetted the Indian military installations across the LoC for which F-16s, JF-17s and Mirage-5 attack jets were deployed.
To block the Pakistani fighters, six MiG-21 from Srinagar along with Sukhoi-30MKIs, Mirage-2000s and MiG-29s were deployed from other airbases. Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was among the six MiG-21 pilots. In an air battle which lasted for around 15 minutes, the rival fighters chased each other with Varthaman locking on the Pakistani F-16.
The Wing Commander sent out the last radio transmission, "R-73 selected," before he launched the Vympel R-73 air-to-air missile at the Pakistani fighter. He was later shot down and ended up Pakistan’s custody after he landed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.