The Indian Air Force is guarding us all the time from all the dangers and anyone who tries to get in our airspace. It has been known that if anyone tries to barge into a foreign land, it’s the duty of the airforce to confront them and tell them to return or face consequences. If they don’t return back, they are shot with no delay.
On 10th August, 1999, 18 years from today, a French-built Breguet Atlantic plane, flight Atlantic-91 belonging to 29th Squadron of Pakistan’s Navy left Mehran(a naval base located at Sindh in Pakistan) at 9:45 Indian Standard Time.
The Indian Air Force ground radar picked up the plane as it was approaching the India-Pakistan border. The Atlantic-91 was used primarily for patrol and reconnaissance. According the 1991 agreement between India and Pakistan about the combat planes, both countries have to stay away 10 km from the international border, the minimum distance for helicopter being 1 km. Also, the Atlantique had a good electronic sensor and it can be taken as a good spy plane.
The Indian air force base at Naliya in Kutch was operational at the moment. The message was passed to them that a plane has intruded in our land. The two MiG-21s at the Naliya airbase was armed with the French Matra Magic air-to-air missiles and 23 mm machine guns.
The Atlantique was at a speed of about 370 kph. According to the ADDC, the plane entered 10 km inside the border and was carrying certain manoevres for about 15 minutes which was identified as very hostile. The plane might be looking for navigable creeks through which they can infiltrate their weapons and some infiltrators to come in Gujarat.
The MiG-21s were order to scramble at 10:57 am and they were in the air by 10:59 am. Flying officer Squadron Leader Prashant Bundela Bravo, the No.2 was Sanjeev Narayan. The MiG Pilots came close enough to the recognize the intruder as an Atlantique with Pakistan Navy insignia. The same information was passed to the controller. The MiGs were on the Indian side of border. The intruder was also on the airborne radar of the MiGs fire control. Alpha, the Squadron Leader Prashant Bundela came so close to the Pakistan’s navy plane and signalled with hands to follow him and to land. Instead of doing what was told, the intruder turned towards bravo which was taken as a threatening manoeuvre.
At the same instance, the ADDC cleared the pilots to fire missile. Alpha fired one missile with the plane in his sight. The missile hit the left engine of the Atlantique.
On hitting, the Atlantique started losing its height and glided towards Pakistan. It took a left turn and crashed on the border and disappeared from ADDC. The MiGs were told to disengage and given vector to the base.
It lead to a widespread claims and counter-claims. India said the plane was inside 10 kilometers inside the Kori Creek which is an Indian territory. The Atlantique had a history of coming dangerously close to the Indian border and it was ended once and for all in 1999.