Why IAF Evidence of Pak’s Use of F-16s Is Significant

A superior F-16 aircraft was shot down by an ageing MIG-21 Bison of the IAF.

2 min read

Hours after Pakistan announced that it would release captured pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, India continued to reiterate its stand that Pakistan had targeted its military installations.

In a joint media briefing by the Indian Air Force (IAF), the Indian Army and the Indian Navy on Thursday, 28 February, the Armed Forces showcased parts of the missile fired by the Pakistani F-16 fighters as proof of Pakistani aggression.

The part of a missile called AMRAAM, shown by the officers, is solely used by F-16.

For more on the joint press conference by the Armed Forces, click here.

An official IAF statement read, “Pakistan stated that no F-16s were used in the operation and no Pakistani plane was downed by IAF. There is enough evidence to show that F-16s were used in this mission, and Pakistan is trying to hide that fact. Also, parts of AMRAAM air-to-air missile which is carried only on F-16s in PAF were recovered East of Rajouri within Indian territory. Therefore, the fact remains that an F-16 was shot down by an IAF MiG-21.”

Why Is This Significant?

The joint statement – and the proof – have two key points.

Firstly, Pakistan used the F-16 against an Indian military target. Even though there has been no official word from US authorities, according to the Indian government, the US has prohibited Pakistan from using the F-16 against India in offensive operations.

The F-16 fighter jets can only be used for anti-terrorism operations.

Secondly, a superior F-16 aircraft was shot down by an ageing MiG-21 Bison of the IAF. This was the first aerial dogfight between the two air forces since the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. While the F-16s, which were recently purchased by Pakistani Air Force, are fitted with the latest avionic, the Russian-made MiG-21s are part of India’s legacy fighter aircraft fleet. This victory in aerial combat is significant achievement, and reflects on the skills or the lack of the PAF.

The IAF stressed on the fact that, unlike the IAF, the Pakistani Air Force targeted Indian military establishment and escalated hostilities.

“Pakistan claimed that they intentionally dropped weapons in an open space where there was no human presence or military posts. The fact is that the PAF aircraft targeted military installations. However, they were intercepted by IAF fighter aircraft.”
IAF statement

Pakistan has repeatedly denied that F-16s were used in the offensive.

Social Media Highlight Significance of Shooting Down F-16

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