IAF MiG 21 Bison, the legendary Fighter jet has been in the service since the late 1960s with Indian Air Force. Let us know how IAF MiG 21 shot down the Pakistani Patrol Aircraft over Kutch. MiG 21 has participated in many operations of the Indian Air Force, to name a few like the 1971 Indo Pak War, 1999 Indo Pak War (Operation Vijay/ Operation Safed Sagar). Apart from Wars, it has also escorted many Missions of the Indian Air Force.
Although these aging Aircraft are Upgraded with Bison Standards and Advanced avionics, still the beast legacy of this single-engine Fighter remains the same. MiG 21 played a key role in bombarding the Governor’s house in Dhaka in the 1971 Indo Pak War.
In the aftermath of the Balakot strikes, the Pakistan Air Force launched Operation Swift Retort. The Indian Fighters dodged the Missiles of US-made F-16s and the top gun of Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan with his IAF MiG 21 Bison shot down the Pakistani F-16 in Intense Dog Fight over PoK.
These events are already known to most of the Indians but there is another heroic story of MiG 21 and its pilot Squadron Leader P. K. Bundela. Let us put a light on this event which happened just after the Kargil War.
On 10 August 1999, Pakistani Navy’s Breguet Atlantic Maritime Patrol Aircraft got Airborne from Mehran Naval Airbase, Karachi. All the movements of this Patrol Aircraft were closely monitored by Indian Ground Radars. After observing its approach towards the India Pakistan Border, the Indian Air Force scrambled two MiG 21 Fighters of No. 45 squadron from Naliya Air Force Station, Kutch. Even after several Warnings, the Pakistani Patrol Aircraft didn’t respond. The two MiG 21 Fighters tried to escort the Pakistani Navy Aircraft to Indian Air Base. But the Maritime Patrol Aircraft didn’t respond to protocol and acted “Hostile”.
The Indian MiG 21 Fighters were given permission to fire Missiles on Pakistani Patrol Aircraft. Squadron Leader P K Bundela fired R-60 Air to Air Missile on Pakistani Patrol Aircraft and the Patrol Aircraft crashed near the disputed Border, Sir Creek. Pakistan allegedly tried to blame India for shooting their Patrol Aircraft. Indian Air Force showcased the Debris of Atlantic patrol Aircraft the next day in New Delhi. The case was also filed by Pakistan in the International Court of Justice, Hague. But ICJ, Hague Stated that it doesn’t have jurisdiction to handle the case and ICJ dismissed it.
On the Occasion of Air Force Day in October 2000, Squadron Leader P K Bundela was conferred with the Vayu Sena Medal. Wing Commander V. S. Sharma, ATC Officer who tracked the Patrol Aircraft and directed the MiG 21 pilot to it down was also conferred with the Medal. Squadron leader Pankaj Vishnoi, the helicopter who retrieved the Patrol Aircraft debris was also conferred with the Medal.