New Delhi: Rubbishing claims made by an American magazine, Indian Air Force on Friday brought its high ranking official Air Vice Marshal R.G.K. Kapoor, assistant chief of air staff (operations) to assert that India’s MiG 21 Bison did shoot down a Pakistani F-16 on February 27.
According to sources, India has Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) images which shows one F16 near MiG 21 suddenly disappearing from screen, radio transmissions, missing call signal of one of the F16s, sightings by army personnels on ground of two parachutes and initial statement by Pakistan itself to prove that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman shot down an F16.
“During the aerial engagement, one MiG 21 Bison of the Indian Air Force (IAF) shot down one F-16 in Nowshera sector,” said the Air Vice Marshal. He said Indian forces have confirmed sighting ejection at two different places on that day. He said that two sightings were at places separated by atleast 8-10 kilometres.
“One was an IAF MiG 21 Bison (flown by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman) and the other a Pakistan Air Force aircraft. Electronic signatures gathered by us indicate that the PAF aircraft was a F-16,” said Air Vice Marshal Kapoor.
The reputed American magazine Foreign Policy in a story had said that India’s claim that one of its fighter pilots shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet in an aerial battle between the two nuclear powers in February appears to be wrong.
The magazine, citing two unnamed United States defence officials, had claimed that US personnel recently counted Islamabad’s F-16s and found none missing.
The dogfight between IAF and PAF fighter planes happened on February 27, when a group of Pakistani jets entered India’s airspace after Indian air strike on Jaish terror camp at Balakot.
Air Vice Marshal Kapoor said that a large force of PAF F-16s, JF 17s and Mirage aircraft were picked up by India Air Force radars on that day.
"They were intercepted by IAF's Su30-MKI, Mirage 2000 and MiG-21 Bison fighter guided by ground radars and Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS). All attempts of PAF to attack any targets were thwarted by the IAF," he added. The AWACS pictures with IAF show that MiG 21 Bison flown by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman and F-16 were near to each other, said sources. "Then there is another picture after few seconds where the F-16 is missing from the display and there is only MiG 21 left," said sources. Through technical analysis, IAF officials are able to identify the type of planes which are being picked up by AWACs. Sources said that the place where Abhi and PAK fighter planes were involved in dog fight only F16's were present. Sources said that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman locked and fired a missile at one of "The monitoring of radio transmission of the F16 reveal that call sign of one of their aircraft was missing," said sources.
Government also has media interview of an old tribal from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir who claims that they had captured three pilots.
Indian security forces also has intercepted transmission between Pak security personnels which shows that two planes were hit. "One was our MiG. Which was the another one. It was Pakistan's F16," said sources.
One of the intercepted message is (In Urdu) says "enemy ka jo tabah huwa parinda wala pakad ke hum apni unit me laye abhi. Dusra bhi 658 (Pak Army unit) waalon ne unko pakad
liya. over" (Fighter from enemy's destroyed bird has been caught and just brought in our unit. The second one has beencaught by 658 (another Pak army unit)).
Another messages says "(In Urdu) Wing commander Abhinandan MiG 21 pilot, dusra zakhami CMH transfer. Dusra ek hai zakhami wo CMH me hai." (Wing commander Abhinandan MiG 21 pilot and second one injured transferred to military hospital. There is another one who is injured and has been transferred to military hospital.)
Indian ground forces also sighted two parachutes coming down at Sabi Kot and Tandar following the aerial combat on February 27, said sources....