By Gp Capt Ajit K Agtey (Retd)
Velu’s story has finally got me to type out the following piece. I had decided to stay silent as talking of it, would have amounted to blowing one’s own trumpet, BUT WHAT THE HELL, lets do it.
I am referring to the same Inter Commabd Weapons Meet of November 1972. Western Air Command had 4 Gnat squadrons, namely 2,9,18 and23. Each squadron had to depute one pilot for each event. For R/P WAC found a bunch of four young, aggressive Flying Officers. They were Parvez Khokhar (9 Sqn),VP Vadera (23 Sqn), VK Sharma (18 Sqn) and yours truly(2 Sqn). It would not be out of place to state that senior most team member had less than 4 years service and the junior most ie self had less than 3 years. The other two were in between.
The range was all time famous SIDHWANKHAS range and the base of operation was Halwara. On the due date we all gathered at Halwara and the practice sessions began. The other team members/leaders were legends like Mickey Jatar (Maruts), Godfrey Salins (Mig 21 F/G), Johnney Greene (Gnat Cine). The tail was brought up by us.
Halwara bar was as always the debrief centre, and we were generally being taught the finer points of R/P firing.
The format was, as already spelt out by Velu. The two best rockets of each member were to be assessed. The load we were carrying was 4, T-10s.
On the appointed day the team got airborne in copybook fashion and went and fired our load in total silence and returned. To cut a long story short the results were 16 DIRECT HITS. End of Story
That evening when we walked into the bar Mickey Jatar got up, shook us by the hand and said that it would be an honour for him to stand us a drink, as he had never seen scores of this kind.
The G- bird was a sheer delight to fly and was a very versatile weapons platform.
The team is still around Parvez is in Bangalore, Vady in Jet airways in Delhi, VK Sharma in corporate flying in Delhi and yours truly in Jet Airways in Bangalore. Looking forward to meeting up with all the stalwarts.