The MiG 21 BISON Squadron, of which Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was a part of when he took on intruding aircraft of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in Jammu and Kashmir on February 27 this year and shot down a F-16 aircraft, has taken on a new sobriquet.
Adopting the name ‘Falcon Slayers’, the squadron has got special uniform patches made to commemorate the aerial fight. The F-16 that Abhinandan shot down has been named by its maker as the Falcon.
Not to be left behind, the Sukhoi-30 squadron, whose aircraft also blunted the subsequent Pakistani air attack and successfully evaded US-made AMRAAM missiles, adopted the title of the ‘AMRAAM Dodger’.
These patches are cloth badges which depict the squadron’s role or identity and often commemorate an important engagement in which the squadron took part. They also depict the type of aircraft the squadron flies.
The 51 Squadron’s patch depicts a MIG-21 BISON in the foreground and a red coloured F-16 in the background under crosshairs. The Sukhoi squadron’s path meanwhile shows a SU-30MKI with a AMRAAM missile going past it after missing.
IAF spokesperson Group Captain Anupam Bannerjee said it was common for squadron pilots to wear patches. “Patches instill a sense of pride in not only the present generation of pilots but also the future ones. It gives a sense of achievement to the pilot,” he said.
The patches for both squadrons have been designed by young aviation enthusiast, Saurav Chordia. Though he just graduated, this isn’t the first time he is designing IAF patches.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Chordia confirmed that he designed the two patches. “I got a request from the two squadrons last month and after a few changes, the final design was approved by them,” said the fresh graduate.
Originally from Assam and now based in New Delhi, the first patch Chordia designed for the IAF was for the SU-30MKI squadron when he was still in college in 2015. I have also designed the patches for the first Tejas squadron in the country, he added.