Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa leads a ‘missing man’ formation by the Mig-21 at the Bhatinda air base. | Photo Credit:
In a missing man formation three aircraft fly in a four aircraft formation leaving gap in between depicting the missing man.
Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief Air Chief Marshal (ACM) B.S. Dhanoa on Monday paid tribute to Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja who lost his life 20 years back during the Kargil conflict by flying a ‘missing man’ formation in a Mig-21. He was accompanied by Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C) Western Air Command Air Marshal R Nambiar.
ACM BS Dhanoa led a four aircraft, MiG-21 ‘Missing Man’ formation flypast at AF station Bhisiana, in Bhatinda to honour the valour and supreme sacrifice of men killed in action during Operation Safed Sagar at Kargil, an IAF Spokesperson said in a statement.
“The ‘Missing Man’ formation is an aerial salute accorded to honour the fallen comrades-in-arms,” the Spokesperson stated. This is probably the first time an Air Chief and AOC-in-C flew in the same formation to pay homage, ACM Dhanoa observed after the flypast.
On May 27, 1999 IAF lost two fighter jets while attempting to evict infiltrators from the icy heights of Kargil. While Flt Lt K Nachiketa was taken Prisoner of War (PoW) after his Mig-27 was shot down, another pilot Sqn Ldr Ahuja lost his life on the ground after ejecting from his Mig-21 and was posthumously awarded the Vir Chakra. ACM Dhanoa was then the Commanding Officer of Sqn Ldr Ahuja.
ACM Dhanoa and Air Marshal Nambiar, both Kargil veterans, flew Mig-21 Type 96 aircraft at Bhatinda air base. In a missing man formation three aircraft fly in a four aircraft formation leaving gap in between depicting the missing man.
On May 28, ACM Dhanoa is scheduled to visit Air Force Station Sarsawa and will fly in a Mi-17 V5 Missing Man formation to commemorate those who lost their lives during the Kargil conflict.
On May 28, 1999 IAF lost a Mi-17 after it successfully attacked enemy positions in Drass sector. Sqn Ldr R Pundhir, Flt Lt S Muhilan, Sgt R K Sahu and Sgt PVNR Prasad lost their lives in the Mi-17.