New Delhi, March 3: In his last radio message before ejecting out of MiG-21 Bison jet, Indian Air Force's (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman said that he had selected a Vympel R-73 air-to-air missile to fire at Pakistan Air Force's (PAF) F-16 aircraft. "R-73 selected," Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman had said on February 27 when Pakistani fighter jets violated Indian airspace in Jammu and Kashmir in a bid to target military installations.
After the IAF conducted a bombing on terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed’s biggest training camp near Balakot deep inside Pakistan early Tuesday, Pakistan attempted a retaliation. PAF deployed F-16s, JF-17s and Mirage-5 attack jets to target Indian military installations across the LoC. To foil their bid, Wing Commander Abhinandan along with other five MiG-21 pilots scrambled from Srinagar. Pakistan Lie Busted Again! Lockheed Martin Not Suing India For Claiming MiG-21 Shot Down F-16 Fighter Jet.
During the aerial fight which lasted for about 15 minutes, Wing Commander Abhinandan in his MiG-21 managed to 'lock on' to a much more modern Pakistani F-16. He then let loose the Vympel R-73 air-to-air missile at the Pakistani jet before his MiG-21 was hit. "This is probably the first time a Russian-origin MiG-21 has shot down an American F-16 anywhere in the world," an officer told TOI.
Due to IAF's swift response, PAF's attempt to target military installations was foiled. After his MiG-21 was hit, Wing Commander Abhinandan landed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. He was chased by a mob and later rescued by the Pakistan Army. The IAF pilot was in Pakistani captivity for over 60 hours before his ordeal came to an end after several hours of uncertainty on Friday. Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman Remains in High Spirit Despite Mental Harassment in Pakistan.
At a joint media briefing in New Delhi on February 28, senior officers of the three armed forces had said that Pakistan used multiple F-16 aircraft to target military establishments in India on Wednesday. They had also presented proof of the AIM-120 missile fired by the F-16 in the Indian territory. Facing embarrassment, Pakistan has refused to acknowledge that F-16 jets were used to violate the Indian airspace.