Service No : 30501 F(P)
Date of Birth : December 31, 1986
Last Rank : Squadron Leader
Arm/Regt : Indian Air Force
Martyrdom : July 18, 2018
Squadron Leader Meet Kumar was born on 31 Dec 1986. Son of Shri Pravin Kumar, he had a strong desire to join the armed forces right from his childhood, which grew along with his age. After completing his graduation, he got selected for the IAF in the flying branch as a short service commissioned officer. After completing his training he was commissioned into the Indian Air Force on 27 Jun 2009 at the age of 22 years. He got trained as a fighter pilot as part of 1 SSC(M) FP course, which happened to be the first pilots' course for the short service commissioned officers.
He underwent multi-phase flying training and soon became proficient in various air operations. Subsequently he served at many Air Force bases and gathered substantial flying experience. He got promoted to the rank of Sqn Ldr on 27 Jun 2015. Later he got posted to the Air Force base at Pathankot in 2018. While serving with 26 Sqn, Sqn Ldr Meet Kumar flew MiG-21 aircraft which was the second oldest fighter aircraft in the inventory of IAF and had the highest landing and take-off speeds. Sqn Ldr Meet Kumar evolved into a professionally competent pilot, who really loved his machine. This was clear from the promotional video of Sqn Ldr Meet Kumar shot by the Indian Air Force titled ‘A Date With An Air warrior’ featuring him. Talking about the aircraft, in the video Sqn Ldr Meet Kumar says: “It is very powerful. The aircraft is capable of carrying more than 8 bombs at a time. When you fly this aircraft you feel none other than god. The bond I share with this machine is very rare. It is more than my wife. We know each other very well. I have spent more time with this machine than my wife.”
MiG-21 Air Crash: 18 July 2018
During 2018, Sqn Ldr Meet Kumar was serving with 26 Squadron based at Air Force Station Pathankot in Punjab. During peacetime operational training is one of the most important activities of IAF which helps it to remain prepared to take on any eventuality. As part of the training schedule, the fighter pilots of 26 Sqn practiced various complex air excesses during day as well as night. A war-like situation was invariable created in the air for the pilots to practice and remain updated. Sqn Ldr Meet Kumar too was undertaking training sorties to practice complex air operations on a regular basis. On 18 July 2018, Sqn Ldr Meet Kumar was tasked for another such operational sortie. On July 18, 2018, at around 12:20 pm, Sqn Ldr Meet Kumar took off in his MiG 21 Bis aircraft (C-2242) from Air Force Station Pathankot. The sortie was uneventful for the first 45 minutes but the aircraft seemed to have developed a technical snag thereafter and became uncontrollable.
The aircraft was seen circling over the fields in a village in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh before coming down. Sqn Ldr Meet Kumar using his flying skills tried to maneuver the aircraft away from the residential area of the village to minimize the loss of life and property. But eventually, the aircraft crashed near Mehra Palli village in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, around 70 km from Dharamshala. However, Sqn Ldr Meet Kumar could not survive the crash and succumbed to his injuries. He was a committed soldier and a gallant air warrior who laid down his life in the service of the nation.
Squadron Leader Meet Kumar is survived by his wife, daughter and parents.