Abhinandan Varthaman's squadron gets new patches to mark F-16 kill

May 16 2019 10:48 AM
Abhinandan Varthaman's squadron gets new patches to mark F-16 kill

The Indian Air Force MiG-21 Bison Squadron No. 51 has come up with new shoulder patches with title 'Falcon Slayers' to commemorate the shooting down of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in Jammu and Kashmir on February 27 this year and shot down a F-16 aircraft. Adopting the name ‘Falcon Slayers’, the squadron has got special uniform patches made to commemorate the aerial fight. The F-16 that Abhinandan shot down has been named by its maker as the Falcon.

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Abhinandan was stationed at Srinagar airbase with his squadron No. 51, when PAF F-16 jets intruded Indian air space in retaliation to Balakot airstrike by the IAF a day earlier. He engaged in a dogfight with a vastly superior F-16 jet and shot it down.  In the process, his plane also crashed and he was captured by Pakistani forces and released a couple of days later. Since the episode, Abhinandan has been officially moved from No. 51 Squadron to No. 23 Squadron (Panthers).

IAF spokesperson Group Captain Anupam Bannerjee said it was common for squadron pilots to wear patches. “Patches instill a sense of pride in not only the present generation of pilots but also the future ones. It gives a sense of achievement to the pilot,” he said. Adopting the name ‘Falcon Slayers’, the squadron has got special uniform patches made to commemorate the aerial fight. The F-16 that Abhinandan shot down has been named by its maker as the Falcon.

The No 51 Squadron patch depicts a MIG-21 Bison in the foreground and a red-colored F-16 in the background under crosshairs with 'AMRAAM Dodger' written on the top and Falcon Slayer’ inscribed at the bottom.

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