On 26 Mar 87, Flight Lieutenant Vivek, flying a fighter aircraft, was carrying out a low level bombing attack over the Sarmat air to ground weapons range. During the attack at a high speed and very low height a large bird struck the front of the aircraft causing extensive damage to the air intake. The bird and aircraft debris entered the engine, damaging it severely and leading to an engine flameout. The aircraft was at a very low level, approaching the sea at this time.
Displaying exemplary presence of mind and courage of the highest order in the face of a very critical emergency, the pilot maintained control of the aircraft, turned it away from the sea and subsequently cleared it off the installations on the ground. He carried out all actions flawlessly and in the shortest possible time and informed the range safety officer and the airfield of his flight condition. He then restarted the engine ensuring that his flight path would keep him clear of the built up areas and vital installations near the airfield. Thereafter he carried out a flawless emergency landing at the airfield without any delay or damage to the aircraft.
Flt Lt Vivek displayed courage and presence of mind of a very high standard in handling this grave emergency. He not only saved a valuable aircraft, but also prevented damage to vital installations and injuries to civil and service personnel on the ground. His handling of the emergency was in keeping with the highest traditions of the service and is all the more remarkable in that he had returned to active flying after a relatively long break just a few days prior to this accident.
For courage and presence of mind of the highest order in the face of a very grave emergency, the president is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Flt Lt Vivek.