These two legendary fighters came face to face for the first time over Indian skies in September 1965. Sabrejet was a combat proven platform with hundreds of kills to its credit in the Korean War of early 1950s. On the contrary, Folland Gnat developed in UK was not even flown as a fighter in its parent country. Yet in both 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan Gnat proved to be quite the nemesis.
Gnat earned its nickname “Sabre Slayers” with a record of seven Sabres being brought down for loss of three Gnats in the 1965 war. The same trend was repeated in 1971 war and in the very first encounter on 22 November 1971, four Gnats brought down three Sabres with nil loss to Gnats. Two of the Pakistani pilots, Flt. Lt. Parvez Mehdi Qureshi and Fg Offr Khalil Ahmed were captured over Indian territory and turned into Prisoners of War (POWs). After the war one of them went on to become Chief of Pakistan Air Force.
This painting is a recreation of first kill of Gnat in 1965 scored by Squadron Leader Trevor Keelor. His younger brother, Flight Lieutenant Danziel Keelor also shot down a Sabre in 1965 and became famous as Keelor brothers. They both were awarded with Vir Chakras for their acts of exceptional gallantry.