The Indian Air Force (IAF) has officially promoted Abhinandan Varthaman to a group Captain post. The 38-year-old was awarded Vir Chakra for gunning down a Pakistani F-16 during a dogfight over the Line of Control (LoC) on February 27, 2019. A group captain is equivalent to a colonel in the army.
A Battle In The Sky
Abhinandan was involved in a dogfight that took place a day after the Indian Air Force's Mirage-2000s struck targets in Pakistan's Balakot in response to the Pulwama suicide attack in Kashmir in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed on February 14, 2019.
He was a wing commander back then, which is equivalent to a lieutenant colonel in the army.
Abhinandan Makes History
The then 35-year-old Abhinandan scripted military aviation history by downing an F-16 seconds before his own MiG-21 Bison was hit by a missile forcing him to eject. Experts then hailed it as the first-ever kill of an F-16 by a MiG-21 Bison, fighter jets of two different generations.
He was captured after he bailed out of his aircraft, but Pakistan returned him to India on March 1, 2019, after holding him captive for nearly 60 hours.