Abhinandan Varthaman Current Affairs - 2019

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IAF launches 3D mobile video game Indian Air Force: A cut Above

Indian Air Force (IAF) has launched 3D air-borne combat based mobile video game called ‘Indian Air Force: A cut above’. It was launched by Air Chief Marshal B. S. Dhanoa at National Bal Bhawan, New Delhi. It is second such video game launched by IAF, earlier it had Guardians of the Skies’ in 2014 and has got over a million downloads. It is similar to older Guardians of Skies game including controls and graphics, but has new storyline along with some gameplay changes.

Indian Air Force: A cut above

  • It is aimed at making youth aware about IAF and encourage them to join the armed forces. It will also provide gamers virtual experience of airborne combats.
  • It is available on both Android and iOS platforms (phones) and will engage audience above the age of 14.
  • It has been developed by Delhi-based Threye Interactive, which earlier also had made similar game “Guardians of Skies” for IAF in 2014.
  • It is themed on various aerial combats and missions, including airstrikes, undertaken by IAF. It has total of 10 missions, and each mission has further three sub-missions.
  • Its various missions, include, airstrikes, air-to-air refuelling, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR).
  • It also has career navigator and augmented reality (AR) sections which will give a realistic feel of the IAF’s assets to the user.
  • It also features character sporting gunslinger moustache similar to that of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman`s, who was captured and later released by Pakistan after his aircraft was shot down in aerial dogfight which broke out in aftermath of February 2019 Balakot airstrikes.

Abhinandan Varthaman

He holds unique distinction of being only pilot in the world to have shot down an F-16 combat aircraft from his vintage MiG-21 Bison aircraft on February 27, 2019 during aerial conflict with Pakistan. He was held captive by Pakistani authorities on February 27, 2019 after his MiG 21 Bison went down during beyond visual range combat with Pakistani jets. He was taken into custody by the Pakistan Army when his parachute drifted and fell inside PoK. Later he was handed over to India.

Pakistan to observe February 27 as ‘Operation Swift Retort’

Pakistan will observe the Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) retaliatory action on 27th February 2019 against India as ‘Operation Swift Retort’.

Key Highlights

  • It was mentioned at PAF’s Air Staff presentation, which is held quarterly every year to take stock of operational preparedness of the force.
  • According to PAF, “swift response” demonstrates their firm resolve, capacity and capability in thwarting (opposing successfully) the criminal designs of adversary.
  • Although it alarmed that its response to any new “misadventure by the adversary” (in this case India) would be stronger than before.

The Issue

  • After 14 February 2019, when Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) suicide bomber attacked CRPF convoy in Pulwama, killing 40 CRPF soldiers, tensions between India and Pakistan escalated.
  • Later on February 26 Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out counter-terror operation (Balakot Air Strike), hitting what it claimed was a JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on 26 February 2019.
  • Then on 27 February the PAF retaliated and in an aerial combat between India and Pakistan, India lost its MiG-21 Bison aircraft and its pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who allegedly shot down PAF’s F-16 fighter aircraft was captured by Pakistan. He was later released and handed over to India on March 1.