News Desk |
On 8th April, The Indian Air Force (IAF) staged a hurried press conference to refute the highly circulated Foreign Policy report that cited unnamed sources from the US Defence Department and confirmed that Pakistan’s F-16 were all accounted for. Yet again, a highly acclaimed international media platform, The Drive, has conducted an investigation into the “radar images” and “electronic data” staged during the IAF’s press conference, which concludes, “India’s evidence doesn’t come anywhere close to definitively proving what did and did not happen during the air battle over Kashmir in February.”
The IAF has claimed that its radar data has been acquired from “an airborne early warning and control aircraft”, along with “other intelligence” to reveal that Wing Commander Abhinandan had indeed shot down a PAF F-16 Viper fighter jet.
In a report published by Asia Times, an unnamed senior IAF official claimed, “The infrared seeker right in front is completely destroyed when it detonates. No part is left intact.”
The Drive also investigated Indian claims of PAF fighting multiple American-manufactured AMRAM missiles, which can only be carried by an F-16, which the PAF firmly denies engaging during the dogfight that ensued on 27th February.
The IAF claims to have dodged these missiles through “unspecified countermeasures and evasive action, but offered no details to support this assertion.” IAF Air Vice Marshal R.G.K. Kapoor revealed “radar images” from an IAF airborne warning and control aircraft that was tracking three “distinct groups of Pakistani jets”, which included “the JF-17 Thunders to the north, the F-16s in the middle and a third group to the South”.
The presser further said that there were three F-16s in the “engagement zone” of Wing Commander Abhinandan, and he shot one down before a PAF jet shot his plane down.
The Drive’s investigation of these claims observes, “We have 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.”
The report by The Drive notes that the IAF has not put forward any evidence of the “F-16 shoot-down beyond the radar track vanishing”. It notes, “Kapoor only showed two still radar images, as well. Without having more data and context, we have no way of knowing conclusively that the contact disappeared and never reappeared or that it was an F-16, to begin with.”
Pakistan has maintained its stance of promoting peace and has once again invited New Delhi to put aside its aggressive ambitions and engage in dialogues for the greater good and prosperity of the region.
With regards to the Russian-manufactured R-73 missiles extracted from Wing Commander Abhinandan and shared by DG ISPR in response to the IAF’s denial of the FP report, the IAF has attempted to nullify these claims through various mediums but to no avail. In a report published by Asia Times, an unnamed senior IAF official claimed, “The infrared seeker right in front is completely destroyed when it detonates. No part is left intact.”
It is important to note that the R-73 warhead is supposed to detonate outward as opposed to “exploding straight forward”. The Drive concludes that “an R-73 missile missing its middle section is what one might expect to see if it had passed near its target and functioned as intended. Of course, the extensive damage may also have been a result of missiles hitting Varthaman’s MiG-21 or the fighter jet then crashing into the ground.”
US Inspection of PAF F-16 Vipers
Reports reveal that as per the export agreement between Pakistan and the US, the US Defense officials have “limited the functionality of key systems and the PAF’s ability to service major components independently”. Analysts also point out the rumored “tracking devices or additional systems” that would allow the US authorities to “remotely disable” the fighter jet or some of its features if required.
A report by Asia Times cited unnamed Pakistani officials who confirmed that an US audit had taken place, which required the PAF to assemble all the Vipers at the PAF Base Mushaf in Sargodha.
In another pathetic attempt to redeem their lost glory, the IAF has highlighted its frustration and disappointment over the factual investigations conducted by international media and renowned investigative journalists, who have completely refuted its narrative of shooting down a PAF F-16 fighter jet. Pakistan has maintained its stance of promoting peace and has once again invited New Delhi to put aside its aggressive ambitions and engage in dialogues for the greater good and prosperity of the region.
Mina Jahangir with additional input by News Desk.