Service No : 26123 F(N)
Last Rank : Flight Lieutenant
Arm/Regt : Indian Air Force
Martyrdom : December 19, 2005
Flt Lt Anurag Sharma having got selected for the IAF, went to the Air Force Academy in Hyderabad and got commissioned as a Pilot Officer on 17 Jun 2000. Having been inducted into the flying stream of the IAF, he got trained as a Navigator as part of 89th NAV Course. After completing his multi-phase flying training, he joined the operational squadron and thereafter served at various Air Force bases. By 2005, he had put in about 5 years of service and had evolved into a professionally competent Navigator.
Canberra Air Mission: 19 Dec 2005
During 2005, Flt Lt Anurag Sharma was serving with 106 Sqn based at Agra. The Squadron was formed in May 1957 with the Photo recce version of the Canberra aircraft based at Agra. The Role of the squadron was to provide military aerial photography and aid with other civilian applications. The squadron thereafter participated in all wars and earned MVC in all three wars of 1962, 1965, and 1971. Canberra remained the backbone of the IAF for bombing raids and photo reconnaissance for many decades. During 2005, the squadron under the command of Wing Commander Ravindra D Kundari was continuing with its role of providing Photo recce support to various operations. On 19 Dec 2005, Flt Lt Anurag Sharma as a Navigator was undertaking another such sortie along with Sqn Ldr Sanjeev Beri as the pilot.
On the 19th of Dec 2005, in the afternoon, Flt Lt Anurag Sharma along and Sqn Ldr Sanjeev Beri took off from his Canberra PR57 aircraft (IP-990) from IAF station at Agra Cantonment. Canberra PR57 aircraft at that time was the oldest type of aircraft in the IAF’s inventory. The flight was uneventful in the early part of the mission, but as they were on their way back to Agra airbase after a “reconnaissance mission” near the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, the aircraft developed a snag in the engine. Soon it was flying in on a single engine with low speed. It started flying low and was rapidly losing the crucial advantage of height in such situations. Sqn Ldr Sanjeev Beri was a competent pilot and using his flying skills directed the aircraft into the vacant ground outside the Jataura village.
Sqn Ldr Sanjeev Beri in an effort to save the aircraft tried to land back in the airfield and circled the village. But that couldn’t be done and the aircraft crashed around 5 km from the base, near Jataura village. The IAF authorities at the Agra station expected Flt Lt Sharma and Sqn Ldr Beri to eject and flew a rescue aircraft to pick them up. But, unfortunately, the aircraft crashed and Flt Lt Anurag Sharma and Sqn Ldr Beri Beri could not survive the crash. Flt Lt Anurag Sharma was a dedicated soldier and a professionally competent air warrior, who laid down his life in the line of his duty.