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IAF Celebrates Balakot’s Second Anniversary with Long-Range Precision Strike Mission | India News

NEW DELHI: The IAF conducted a long-range precision strike mission against a practice target at Pokhran in Rajasthan to mark the second anniversary of the pre-dawn bombing of the JeM terrorist facility at Balakot in Pakistan on February 26, 2019.
The mission was carried out by the same squad of Mirage-2000 fighter jets that had carried out the Balakot attacks, in which five of the six designated targets were hit in the cross-border operation codenamed ‘Operation Bandar’ two ago. years, as previously reported by TOI.
IAF chief air chief marshal RKS Bhadauria also flew a Mirage-2000 on Saturday in a multi-jet outing, which also included Sukhoi-30MKI jets, to mark the occasion, officials said.
The mission in Pokhran, by the way, also used the Israeli Spice-2000 precision-guided penetration bombs that were used during the Balakot attacks.
In 2019, backed by IL-78 airborne refuelers and AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) aircraft, the Mirage-2000 was deployed in the “strike package” against Balakot from Gwalior, Agra and Bareilly, instead of advanced air bases to retain the element of surprise in the early morning of February 26, 2019.
The IAF had also simultaneously deployed a “decoy package” of Sukhoi-30MKI that was apparently headed towards JeM headquarters in Bahawalpur in Punjab province to ensure that Pakistani combat air patrols were kept away from the actual intended “strike package”. to Balakot in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. , as TOI later reported.
The IAF had achieved its “strategic and operational objective of successfully bombing” the JeM terrorist facility in Balakot. But he lost the MiG-21 flown by wing commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who shot down an F-16 before he himself was ejected and captured by Pakistani forces, in the air skirmish in the Nowshera sector along the Control Line one day later. Operation Bandar.
The “friendly fire” also downed an Mi-17 helicopter, which killed six IAF personnel and a civilian, in Budgam around the same time as the air skirmish.

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