Here’s A Step-By-Step Account Of How The Surgical Air Strike Was Planned And Executed

surgical air strike

The attack on more than 40 CRPF paramilitary soldiers in Pulwama on 14 February shocked the nation. There was a constant demand from all quarters of the country to avenge the cowardly act. And the government had no other option but to act. It did so by taking away the “Most favored nation” status from Pakistan and by stopping the water of rivers. But still that did not seem to be enough and the country was asking for blood against blood.


11 Days Of Planning for An Attack Of 10 Minutes

The surgical air strike by IAF on 26 February was the befitting answer to the terror attack in Pulwama. The Indian IAF team carried out the air strike at pre-dawn. Even though the attack took around 10 minutes to bomb three major sites in Pakistan, it took the planning of almost 11 days to devise such a successful plan. The process of teaching Pakistan a lesson started immediately a day after the bombing.


Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa made the presentation the next day after Pulwama attack. Here is a step-by-step account of how the attack was planned:

Birender Singh Dhanoa

February 16

Air Chief Marshal presented the retaliatory plan to the government and the plan was cleared the same day.

February 16 to 20

The Indian Air Force and the Army used Heron drones along the Line of Control (LoC) to conduct airborne surveillance.


February 20 to 22

The intelligence agencies and IAF came up with target tables that indicated possible sites where air strike should be made.

February 21

The IAF presented National Security Advisor Ajit Doval with options for making air strike.

February 22

The IAF activated its 7 Squadron “Battle Axes” and 1 Squadron “Tigers” for the strike as planned. 2 Mirage squadrons chose 12 jets for completing the mission of airstrike.


February 24

The team of IAF conducted a trial run over Central India with a jet in Bhatinda and a mid-air refueller from Agra.

February 25 and 26

The 12 Mirage 20002 took off from Gwalior armed with laser-guided bombs in batches. An early warning jet of IAF took off from Bhatinda and a refueling mid-air tanker took off from Agra. Heron surveillance drone of IAF started its work from a secret airfield.


After conducting their final checks on the targetted sites, the Mirage pilots received clearance from their command center and proceeded to fly at a low-level near Muzaffarabad across the LoC. The IAF team used laser pods for painting targets and ensure that the payload of bombs dropped exactly at the targetted site. The IAF conducted the attack from 3:20 AM and 3:30 AM.


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