Flt Lt Niraj Kukreja, Vr.C, Indian Airforce

Flt Lt Niraj Kukreja, Vr.C

During the India-Pakistan war in December 1971, Flt Lt Niraj Kukreja was serving with a fighter squadron. On 17th December, while he was leading an escort formation of one of our strike missions, he spotted two enemy F-104 aircraft constituting a direct threat to the strike mission.

He alerted his No.2 and also informed the leader of the strike mission that he was engaging the enemy aircraft. He skilfully manoeuvred his aircraft and got behind one of the enemy aircraft. After a short air combat, he fired both his missiles as a result of which the enemy aircraft exploded and crashed.

Throughout, Flt Lt Kukreja displayed gallantry, professional skill and devotion to duty of a high order.

Flt Lt Kukreja died in an air crash shortly after the war.