| Squadron Leader Vikas Bhushan (27450) Flying (Pilot) has been on the posted strength of Su-30 MKI Squadron with effect from 27 Jan 09. He is a 'Fully Operational' pilot, 2 aircraft leader, trainer captain (Day), rated White' on the Su-30MKl ac and has approximately 650 hrs on type. On being posted to an Air Superiority Fighter aircraft without any previous exposure in Air Defence missions, he worked hard and made the transition in a professional manner within a short period. On 08 Mar 10, Sqn Ldr Bhushan was detailed to fly as Number 3 in a four aircraft formation for a practice live Medium Altitude Release over Pokhran range towards Exercise Eklavya. After reaching top of climb at flight level 245 and out of base by approximately 80 kilometers at an IAS of 660 kmph and Mach No. 0.82 and in radio contact with Delhi area, the aircraft front canopy burst. The pilot experienced sudden wind blast with extremely high noise level in the cockpit and a situation akin to explosive decompression. The pilot was hit by broken flying Perspex which hit him on the shoulder and also broke his helmet visor, resulting in lacerations on his face. As captain of the aircraft, Sqn Ldr Bhushan took control of the situation while remaining calm and composed and correctly assessed it as canopy burst of the aircraft. The officer controlled the aircraft and commenced emergency descent, simultaneously reducing speed. He took immediate actions of tightening harness and lowering seat. Even though he could not hear anything on the Radio Telephony equipment due to extremely high ambient noise and wind blast, he gave all the required calls to civil agencies in a calm and composed manner. On approach, at a distance of 2 to 3 kilometers from touchdown, the aircraft experienced increased level of cockpit noise and control vibration. The pilot increased speed to maintain the controlled state of flight and affected a safe landing. The canopy burst is amongst the gravest emergencies in any fighter aircraft. This is the first instance of this emergency on the Su-30 MKI and actions to be taken by the pilot as listed in the Flight Reference Card are very cryptic. Throughout the handling of the emergency, he had extreme pain in the ears due to the rapid decompression that the crew had been subjected to on canopy burst. By taking timely and correct actions, in spite of the physical injury and discomfort on his person, Sqn Ldr Bhushan displayed exceptional professionalism in ensuring the safe recovery of his aircraft. This could otherwise have resulted in the loss of an extremely vital and expensive national asset. For this act of exceptional courage and professionalism, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Squadron Leader Vikas Bhushan.