00:33 GMT30 October 2020
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    The squadron of Indian pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who reportedly shot down an F-16 aircraft of Pakistan on 27 February with a MiG-21, has been honoured with specially designed patches celebrating the victory over the Pakistani fighter. Islamabad, however, denies losing any aircraft in the dogfight.

    New Delhi (Sputnik): One of the patches depicts a MiG-21 BISON in the front and a red F-16 in the background in crosshairs, while the squadron's other patch shows an Su-30MKI with an AMRAAM missile flying past after failing to hit it. The pilot's squadron has now donned the name of "Falcon Slayers", as they are receiving special uniform patches made to commemorate the aerial fight. The "Falcon" is used to refer to the F-16 that the pilot reportedly shot down using a MiG-21.

    READ MORE: Indian Air Forces Refute US Media Report Saying No Pak F-16 Was Down in February

    Another squadron that had a fighter jet involved in the India-Pakistan skirmish in February also got a freshly designed patch. The Sukhoi-30 squadron, whose aircraft also reportedly blunted the Pakistani air attack, managing to evade US-made AMRAAM missiles, adopted the title of the "AMRAAM Dodgers".

    The Sukhoi squadron's patch displays an Su-30MKI with an AMRAAM missile flying past it after missing.

    The IAF has a history of putting up these patches or cloth badges on their uniforms to commemorate and cherish the important engagements in which their squadrons have emerged victorious.

    "Patches instil 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", The Indian Express quoted IAF spokesperson Group Captain Anupam Bannerjee as saying, adding that it was common for squadron pilots to wear patches.

    READ MORE: US Not Sharing Any Info on Pak's Alleged Use of F-16 in India Dogfight – Reports

    The patches for both squadrons were designed by a young aviation enthusiast, Saurav Chordia.

    The 27 February dogfight was an escalation following the 14 February Pulwama terror attack, allegedly carried out by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), in which more than 40 Indian soldiers were killed. India responded with airstrikes against alleged JeM terror camps on Pakistani soil on 26 February. Pakistan's Air Force responded with its own airstrike, during which the dogfight involving Wing Commander Abhinandan took place. Pakistan released an image showing four missiles which it claimed were proof that the MiG-21 flown by Wing Commander Varthaman did not fire any missile.   


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    dogfight, squadron, skirmish, F-16, MiG-21, Indian Air Force, Abhinandan Varthaman, India, Pakistan
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