Squadron Leader R Varma is on the posted strength of a Mirage-2000 Squadron since 30 Apr 95. On 19 Oct 95, he was authorised to lead a 3 aircraft (ac) versus 2 air combat sortie in Mirage-2000 ac.
After two combat situations when the formation was regrouping, a nut on the engine front mounting of his aircraft came off. This caused the engine front part to come down and the drive shaft from the engine to the gear box got damaged and stopped rotating. As a result, the alternators and hydraulic pumps stopped running.
In the air, the pilot was faced with a total electrical and hydraulic failure. A series of warning lights including the failure of the fly by wire control system came on. The pilot reacted to the grave emergency situation with thorough professionalism and commenced the recovery of the crippled aircraft, which had to land within 30 minutes failing which an ejection was mandatory. All displays, having failed, the recovery was to be carried out with only the stand by systems. With sheer grit and determination and in keeping with the highest traditions of IAF, he brought the aircraft down to a safe landing thus saving an extremely precious national asset from being lost.
For this act of exceptional courage, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Rohit Varma.