Foreign publication doubts India’s ‘irrefutable’ evidence of downing PAF F-16

Published: April 9, 2019
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PHOTO: PPI

PHOTO: PPI

The Indian government has once again failed in its attempt to prove that a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet was shot down in the February 27 aerial battle over Kashmir, The Drive reported.

In a fresh development, Indian Air Force (IAF) Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor on Monday held a press briefing regarding the aerial battle.  Claiming that India has ‘irrefutable’ evidence that an IAF MiG21 Bison shot down a PAF F-16, Kapoor only showed two still radar images without any further data or context.

According to the ‘The Drive’, India officially claimed that Pakistani F-16s fired multiple American-made AIM-120C-5 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) during the battle, but that Indian aircraft dodged the bulk of them, however, New Delhi failed to offer details to support this assertion.

ISPR substantiates its stance on F-16 with more evidence

According to the press briefing of the IAF officer, there were three F-16s specifically in the Indian pilot’s ‘engagement zone’. The Indian claim is that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman shot down one of the F-16s before his plane succumbed to fire from the Pakistani side.

The Indian Air Force says it has proven this because the airborne early warning and control aircraft on station had identified the F-16s and saw one of the tracks disappear from its screens completely.

However, there is no way of knowing whether the images that Kapoor presented at the press briefing were taken directly from the radar outputs on AWACS, from a ground radar station or other integrated air defense network node, or were created from data from one or more of those sources specifically for the presentation.

This latest IAF press briefing follows a report from the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine published on April 4 2019, according to which US defence officials counted and confirmed that none of the F-16 jets in the PAF fleet were missing.

According to an exclusive report published by Foreign Policy magazine on Friday, Pakistan invited US officials to physically count the F-16 planes after the February 27 air battle. “Some of the aircraft were not immediately available for inspection due to the conflict, so it took the US officials several weeks to account for all of the jets,” one of the officials said.

Indians poke fun at Modi sarkar after US debunks F-16 downing claim

According to the report, two US defence officials with direct knowledge of the matter said the US personnel had done a count of Pakistan’s F-16s and found none missing. The count had now been completed and all aircraft “are present and accounted for”, the official said.

The F-16s are made by Lockheed Martin and, under an end-user agreement, the US requires the host country to allow for regular inspections to ensure they were accounted for and protected, the magazine said.

“Allah be praised, truth always prevails. Time for India to speak truth about false claims and actual losses on their side, including the second aircraft shot down by Pakistan,” the chief military spokesperson, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, wrote on Twitter.

“India needs introspection especially over atrocities in IOK [Indian Occupied Kashmir]. Region needs peace, progress and prosperity,” he added.

As if it wasn’t enough, the DG ISPR released a photograph showing the intact seekers of all four missiles the MiG-21 Bison jet the PAF shot down had been armed with.

The Bison variant of the MiG-21 that the IAF flies can only carry four air-to-air missiles at a time, suggesting that Wing Commander Abhinandan never got a shot off before his jet was downed.

“The IAF claim of hitting F-16 by their MiG-21 before having been shot down by PAF gets exposed. All four missile seeker heads recovered intact from the wreckage and held,” Maj Gen said. “Pakistan and its professional armed forces staying humble by not drum beating. We have more truth on this to share,” he added.

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