Marking the second anniversary of India's unprecedented, peacetime cross-border air strikes- Balakot operations, the Indian Air Force Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria flew Mirage 2000 in a multi-aircraft formation. Mirage 2000s and Sukhoi-30 fighters made up the five-aircraft formation. The IAF chief, who had just returned from a visit to Bangladesh, had earlier in the day visited the Gwalior airbase where he took a Mirage sortie.
Notably, Mirage 2000 was the same aircraft that was used to bomb Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) targets in Pakistan's Balakot on February 26, 2019. It is pertinent to note that Mirage 2000s hit the terrorist camps in Balakot with Israeli-origin Spice 2000 bombs with penetrator warheads. The bombs pierced through the rooftops and exploded inside causing maximum damage to the facility.
In a 900-kg steel container, each bomb that reached the JeM targets carried about 80 kg of explosives, with the blast triggered by time-delay fuses sending a lethal amount of shrapnel that killed the inhabitants instantly. The bombs struck their targets at a vertical angle, leaving holes 80 to 90 cm in diameter on the buildings' rooftops.
Balakot airstrike marked a major shift in India's strategy towards Pakistan and its record in sponsoring terrorists against India. It was for the first time that India conducted an air-strike in Pakistan's main territory in peacetime. The Indian government gave a green signal to conduct the airstrike on 26th Feb 2019 after 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed on February 14th, 2019 in Pulwama in a suicide car bomb attack.
In response, on February 27, Pakistan Air Force fighters attempted but failed to bomb Indian military targets, resulting in an aerial battle along the Line of Control in which Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman made military aviation history by shooting down an F-16 just moments before his own MiG-21 Bison was hit by a missile.
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