Service No: 6751 GD(P)
Service: Air Force
Last Rank : Flying Officer
Last Unit : 20 Sqn AF
Operation: Op Riddle
Date of Martyrdom : Sep 16, 1965
Flying officer Farokh Dara Bunsha was commissioned into the Indian Air Force on 10 Nov 1962. Belonging to 82nd course of NDA, Fg Offr Bunsha was inducted into the fighter stream of IAF and was trained to fly Hunter Aircraft. After completing his flying training Fg Offr Bunsha was posted to 20 Squadron but was then deputed to 7 Sqn during the 1965 war. Fg Offr Bunsha very soon gained proficiency in flying Hunter Aircraft and became an expert in doing various operational manoeuvres .
Indo-Pak War : Sep 1965
During 1965, Fg Offr Bunsha was serving with 20 Sqn and was of the one of the junior most pilots of the unit, having less than two years of service and about 250 hours on the Hunter. However as the war escalated Fg Offr Bunsha was deputed to serve with 7 Sqn based at Air Force station Halwara in Punjab. On September 16th, No.7 Squadron went into action against the Pakistani Sabres on the Amritsar front. The Hunters from Halwara had not seen air combat since the evening of September 6th but that was soon to change. Late in the afternoon on 16 Sep 1965, at Halwara, Fg Offr Prakash Sadhashivrao Pingale of 7 Squadron was on ORP duty along with Fg Offr Farokh Dara Bunsha.
As an air attack by Pakistani Air Force was detected, a scramble order was given to 7 Sqn ORP and both pilots took off in their Hunters. Once airborne, the fighter controller Fg Offr RC Mahadik gave Fg Offr Pingale an initial vector in a northwesterly direction towards Jallundhur. They were flying at 20,000 feet altitude at high speed – nearly 0.9 Mach – with eyes preened to spot intruding aircraft. The intruders were two Sabres led by Sqn Ldr MM Alam with Fg Offr MI Shaukat of PAF. The Indian pilots Fg Offr Bunsha and Fg Offr Pingale were flying the fighting formation, ‘loose deuce’, which was a well-established battle formation for air combat.
Soon, Fg Offr Pingale spotted a single aircraft coming from the opposite direction at a lower altitude. As it flew almost directly beneath them, Fg Offr Pingale recognized the green and white PAF roundels and it turned out to be Sqn Ldr Alam’s Sabre aircraft. Fg Offr Pingale called Fg Offr Bunsha on the R/T to announce the attack and consequently both the hunters peeled off and turned around in a dive. With the Hunters in a turn, the Sabre deliberately put in a turn from southeastern direction to south. As both the Hunter pilots approached the Sabre from the rear, it was still flying straight and maintaining constant altitude without taking any any evasive actions.
As Fg Offr Pingale rapidly closed in with his Hunter, he instinctively looked to his right and saw at approximately 4 o’clock another Sabre flown by Fg Offr Shaukat Ali at 800 yards and rapidly closing in. Fg Offr Pingale decided to take on the Sabre coming in from behind, as it was easier for him to engage it instead of Fg Offr Bunsha who was much closer to it. Fg Offr Bunsha was in a better position to continue the attack on the Sabre ahead. Fg Offr Pingale called out Fg Offr Bunsha , to go after the Sabre ahead who replied ‘Roger’ and went after Sqn Ldr Alam’s Sabre.
Fg Offr Pingale saw the Sabre coming out of the sun from the right and immediately increased power. He could see the Sabre’s leading edge slats open and knew the aircraft was going to turn tightly. Fg Offr Pingale’s first burst at the Sabre missed the aim causing no damage to the aircraft. But he had closed in to around 250-300 yards and took a shot again achieving a direct hit causing the Sabre to explode in a massive ball of flame. In the meantime, Fg Offr Bunsha was chasing Sqn Ldr Alam who started jockeying his Sabre in. Fg Offr Pingale who was chasing Fg Offr Ali, had an eye on Fg Offr Bunsha and his target. As Fg Offr Pingale saw Sabre maneuver, he called out a warning to Fg Offr Bunsha, which was acknowledged. As a result the chase transformed into a horizontal scissors fight with both the Sabre and Hunter cutting speed and turning inside into each other in an effort to get behind each other.
However during the fight that followed Pakistani Sabre cut inside Fg Offr Bunsha’s turn and was able to take a shot at the Hunter. Fg Offr Bunsha’s Hunter got damaged by the gunfire, and crashed. Fg Offr Bunsha probably did not get enough time to eject and went down with this aircraft. Fg Offr Bunsha attained martyrdom while fighting bravely and daring to take on enemy with his raw courage and daredevilry. Fg Offr Farokh Dara Bunsha was a valiant soldier and a committed air warrior, who laid down his life in the line of his duty, following the highest traditions of the Indian Air Force.
This profile is currently being maintained by Honourpoint.in. However, we would invite the family members, unit/formation or former colleagues of this brave soldier to contribute additional information and maintain this memorial site as well, thereby assisting us in our endeavour to spread awareness about this great Indian and inspire future generations.
Honourpoint.intakes utmost precaution towards factual correctness of the uploaded data and makes sure that the data is from a credible source. However, we do not take responsibility for authenticity of the content and Honourpoint.inor any of its members cannot be held responsible for any misappropriation of the uploaded content.