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The Indian Air Force scrambled two of its frontline combat aircrafts on Sunday morning after two international commercial flights of Turkey, flying from Pakistan, reportedly violated the Indian airspace in western sector.
The similar identification codes of both the international flights sounded alarm for the IAF and it scrambled its fighter planes to intercept the flights hovering over cities of Jaisalmer and Bikaner. IAF allowed the foreign jets after verifying its credentials, IAF officials said.
"IAF radar unit based on the western sector intercepted two passenger planes hovering in Jaisalmer sector at around 7.00am," an IAF official said adding that the unmatched IFF (Identification of Friend or Foe) code prompted IAF to scramble two MiG-21 Bison fighters from Jodhpur Air Force station.
The IFF codes are issued to commercial flights to establish their identity before they enter the territory of any particular country during international flights.
The first Delhi bound Turkey Airlines airplane passing through Pakistan entered Indian airspace using its IFF code, but when the second passenger plane hovering in Jaisalmer sectors too repeated the same code, it sparked security alarm and immediately two IAF fighters ordered to intercept the plane.
"This plane was also from Turkey Airlines and was on the way to Mumbai," official further said, adding that after verifying the facts, the commercial flight was allowed to proceed.
As part of standard operating procedures, the IAF scrambles its fighter aircraft and alerts its air defence units if any unidentified aircraft or any other flying object is seen its air zone.
However, there was confusion over scrambled fighter planes that whether these were SU-30 MKI or MiG-21 Bison.
IAF however remained tight lipped till evening and confirmed in event only late in the afternoon. It has said that the MiG-21 Bison were scrambled from Jodhpur IAF station, but sources are saying that these were SU-30 stationed at Jodhpur.
"Bison fighters are stationed at some of the forward airbases including Uttarlai (Barmer) and Jaisalmer along the Western sector.IAF was need not the scramble such fighters from Jodhpur," sources said.