Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman before ejection from his MiG 21" Bison" fighter jet over his radio transmission said "R-73" selected. He said to let loose the Vympel R-73 air-to-air missile at the Pakistani F-16 fighter jet, reports Times of India.
Vathaman was reportedly among the six MiG-21s pilots who scrambled from Srinagar, along with Sukhoi 30MKIs, Mirage 2000s and MiG-29s being deployed to respond to the Pakistani fighters.
"We knew that they (Pakistan) would react after our Balakot strikes, but did not expect them to retaliate so soon," an officer was quoted as saying.
The entire high altitude dogfight reportedly stood for 15 minutes. "The R-73 is better in such a melee. This is probably the first time MiG-21 has shot down an American F-16 anywhere in the world," another officer said.
IAF fighters managed to thwart the attempt by Pakistani fighters to target Indian installations through laser-guided bombs.
The payload fell at compounds of Indian Army formations, without causing any significant damage without causing any significant damage, due to IAF’s swift response," said another officer.
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