New Delhi: Squadron leaders Ninad Mandavgane and Siddharth Vashisht, the pilots of the ill-fated Mi17 V5 helicopter brought down in a case of friendly fire in February last year have been awarded the Vayu Sena Medal (gallantry), officials said on Saturday.
The four crew members Flight Engineer Vishal Kumar Pandey, Sergeant Vikrant Sehrawat, Corporals Deepak Pandey and Pankaj Kumar -- who were also on board the ill-fated helicopter have been awarded 'Mention-in-Dispatches' posthumously.
A surface-to-air missile of the Indian Air Force brought down the Mi-17 aircraft in Kashmir's Budgam on the morning of February 27 following the failure of command and control.
The incident took place in the midst of the Indian and Pakistani fighter jets being engaged in fierce aerial combat in Nowshera, a day after India's air strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp in Balakot in Pakistan.
Following the accident, the IAF also set up a Court of Inquiry, which found two officers guilty.
The President also approved Param Vishist Sena Medal to six top Air Force officials, including Air Marshal Harjit Singh Arora, the Vice Chief of the IAF.
Besides Mandavgane and Vashisth, Wing Commander Daler Singh Billin,Wing Commander Rajesh Agarwal have also been awarded the Vayu Sena Medal (gallantry).
The President also approved Ati Vishisth Seva Medal to nine senior officers of the IAF, and Vayu Sena Medal to 29 officers.