New Delhi: While the world is on debate whether the IAF shot down Pakistan’s F-16 jets, Abhinandan Varthaman’s MiG-21 Bison squadron gets new patch to mark kill made with ‘Falcon Slayers’ and ‘AMRAAM Dodgers’ embossed on them to mark his shooting down of a Pakistani F-16 during the aerial combat on February 27, a day after the pre-dawn air strikes on a JeM terror facility in Balakot.
The shoulder and chest patches or badges, which are worn on the flying overalls by pilots to showcase achievements of their squadron but are not part of official uniforms. However,it is yet to be approved by higher authorities in the IAF.
As per an Indian Air Force (IAF) officer, “The ‘Falcon Slayers’ bit is fine because the MiG-21 being flown by Abhinandan (who has now been posted to another airbase in Rajasthan) shot down an F-16 with an R-73 air-to-air missile before his fighter was also downed that day. It was truly creditworthy.”
“But the ‘AMRAAM Dodgers’ part has not gone down well. It could have been ‘AMRAAM Defeaters’ or something else. The patches will need to be re-worked,” the officer added.
All squadrons have special patches made to honour their achievements, as also inspire pride in the current and future generations of pilots. The No. 22 Squadron of IAF, for instance, got the sobriquet of ‘Sabre Slayers’ after its Gnats shot down Pakistan.