By mid-December in the Indo – Pak war of 1971, IAF had gained total control of the air. The only squadron of F-86 Sabres of PAF that was based at Tezgaon was grounded after MiG-21s had bombed the runway on 07 December 1971 and made it inoperative. IAF fighters then took to the air looking for enemy targets in ‘search and Strike’ missions to destroy the enemy’s capability to wage war. One such mission was flown by Flying Officer SKJ Nair who was one of the young fighter pilots posted at No. 37 Squadron named Back Panthers, based at Hasimara.
On 09 December 1971, a week after war was declared, Flying Officer SKJ Nair was tasked to lead a two aircraft formation of Hunter aircraft on a Search & Strike mission. On contacting the GLO, he was told of movement of a goods train with possible logistic support approximately 60-70 kms south west of Jamalpur Railway station. Jamalpur on the map was located approximately 100 miles North of Dhaka. Ground FAC, Fg Offr Vasudevan confirmed on R/T the movement of the train. Both Hunters were armed with T-10 Rockets and Front Guns. Fg Offr Nair made contact with the train moving full steam in a North-Westerly direction and positioned for an R/P attack. His volley of four T-10 rockets found their marks halting the train dead on its track. Both aircraft then made repeated passes with rockets and front guns inflicting heavy damage on the train.
This painting is an attempt to recreate execution of a war time missions flown in Bangladesh War of 1971