The Indian Air Force used Mirage-2000 fighter jets during the February 26 Balakot airstrike. IAF pilots who destroyed terror camps in Pakistan honoured. All five Indian Air Force officers are Mirage-2000 pilots. Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman is likely to be awarded be conferred the Vir Chakra

The five Indian Air Force pilots, who bombed a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp in Balakot on February 26 following the Pulwama terror attack, have been conferred the Vayu Sena Medal.

The five Indian Air Force pilots, Wing Commander Amit Ranjan, Squadron Leaders Rahul Basoya, Pankaj Bhujade, BKN Reddy and Shashank Singh are being awarded the Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) for bombing Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist camp in Pakistan’s Balakot, news agency ANI reported.

All five Indian Air Force officers are Mirage-2000 pilots.
What Happened in Balakot?

The Balakot airstrike was seen as a response to the February 14 Pulwama suicide attack, in which 40 jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force were killed.

Jaish-e-Mohammed had claimed responsibility for the Pulwama suicide bombing.

Two weeks later, Indian Air Force's Mirage-2000 fighter jets took off from airbases in India before dawn on February 26. The IAF jets crossed the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir and targeted the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp in Balakot with precision, guided missiles.

The Balakot airstrike capped days of rising tensions between India and Pakistan. The airstrike pushed Delhi and Islamabad to the brink of an armed conflict, with the Pakistan Air Force attempted retaliatory strikes a day after on February 27.

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman likely to be conferred Vir Chakra

Sources had earlier said Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who shot down an F-16 in a dogfight with PAF jets a day after the February 26 Balakot airstrike, was likely to be conferred the Vir Chakra on Independence Day.

The 36-year-old IAF pilot had suffered injuries while ejecting from his MiG-21 Bison during the aerial combat between Indian and Pakistani air forces on February 27.

Varthaman, who became the face of a tense military confrontation between India and Pakistan, is set to fly MiG-21 within a few weeks as a medical board cleared his return to fighter cockpit.

Varthaman was captured by the Pakistani Army on February 27 after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani jets during aerial combat. Before his jet was hit, he downed an F-16 fighter of Pakistan. Varthaman was released on the night of March 1 by Pakistan.