NEW DELHI: In a rare feat, Indian Air Force (IAF) chief B.S. Dhanoa and Western Air Command chief Raghunath Nambiar flew in a formation together in a commemorative flight paying tribute to Kargil war martyr Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja.
Dhanoa and Nambiar strapped up for the "missing man" formation in Bathinda on Monday. It is rare for two top IAF functionaries to fly together in a formation. Both are Kargil veterans as they had flown missions during the conflict in 1999.
Nambiar, who is also one of the strong contenders to become IAF chief after Dhanoa, had flown Mirage 2000 during the Kargil war, while Dhanoa had commanded a Mig-21 squadron.
27 May 99 — @IAF_MCC lost two jets over Muntho Dhalo. The first pilot, Flt Lt Nachiketa, was taken PoW. The second, Sqn Ldr Ahuja, was killed on the ground after ejection. His then-CO, now Chief of Air Staff, flew a missing man today, 20 yrs later, to honour his fallen comrade. pic.twitter.com/d8b8eQfYFv— Angad Singh (@zone5aviation) May 27, 2019
After the flight, Dhanoa said that the government's decision to buy two squadrons of Rafale was game changing. He said the IAF had enhanced it's capability immensely since the Kargil war as all the fighters were now equipped with precision weapons.
During the Kargil war, only Mirage 2000s had laser designated pods for precision bombing. He said that inclusion of heavy lift helicopter Chinook and attack helicopter Apache will further enhance IAF's capability.