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The Indian Air Force fought one of its most significant post-independence aerial clash with the Pakistan Air Force on 27 February 2019. This graphic is the most authentic sit rep on the attack axis, force packages and geographical locations of the engagement.
The PAF's North & South Axes were decoys, the Central axis was the main strike thrust - with F-16s using 1000 lbs LGBs, JF-17 the REKs and the Mir III/V the H2/ H4 SOW on 16 Corps targets. The PAF did not cross the LC anywhere.
The JF-17 vs Mirage 2000 engagement took place North of J&K as the JF-17s tried to 'push' the M2000s in a 'Red on Red'. The JF-17's NRIET KLJ-7 PD radar did not do well against the M2000s. The JF-17s main job was to keep the M2000s tied up and not move south.
A pair of M21 Bison was scrambled towards the north edge of the Central axis. Another pair was scrambled south west. Abhinandan was part of the SW vector.
The IAF did not have any AWACS on station, the PAF had a Saab 2000 ERIEYE 100 km at 30,000 feet, which controlled the battle space out to 150 Km+ inside India, guiding the HiTech F-16s positioning for Ambushing IAF jets in a designated kill zone in south J&K.
In central Axis, the the F-16s climbed to 40,000 feet and went supersonic. The JF-17s and Mir III/Vs released their payloads out of range due the threat of the M2000s north east of them, whom the JF-17s had not checked effectively
The PAF carried out Comm jamming, which was effective in places. With no AWACS the the IACCS's vectored 2 Su-30MKIs towards Poonch Rajouri. The PAF communication intercepted on the ERIEYE showed that the PAF was vary of the upgraded M2000s moving south.
There were 2x PAF 4 aircraft F-16 formations, one at 40,000 feet and the other undetected at 10-15,000 feet, approaching Nowshera. The plan was to fire the the first volley of AMRAAMS by the 4 F-16s at 40,000 feet, targeting the approaching Su-30MKIs
As the Su-30MKIs would engage in defensive manoeuvring, the second formation of 4 x F-16s at 15,000 feet (which had just finished a LGB run), would target the Su-30MKIs with a second volley of AMRAAMs
The Su-30MKIs picked up the higher pair of F-16s at 35-40,000 feet and anticipated the launch in a 'Red on Red', also cautioned by the GC The Su-30s cranked to reduce their forward travel and being in a position to outrun the AMRAAM's kinematics.
The Su-30MKI's did not get a launch command on their own R27 and RVV-AE AAMs due the differential in the snap up launch, with the F-16s going cold after launching their AMRAAMs
The timely cranking and the chaff helped the Su-30MKIs outmaneuver the AMRAAMs. 5 AIM-120C-5 s were fired on the Sukhois with no hit....
Meanwhile Abhinandan and his No 2 closed into the lower pair of F-16s abeam Nowshera, who were climbing to 25,000 feet to target the Sukhois in a flanking move
It was a 'red on red' for Abhinandan as he was picked up, but pressed on his attack after manually locking his R-73 on a F-16. He fired and turned back. One F-16 was hit and went down. Abhi was hit by an AMRAAM fired by a F-16, ejecting successfuly
Three chutes were reported in the area, with widespread reporting by ISPR and Pal handles that they had three pilots in custody. A parachute with Indian colours was seen coming down. For info the C-9 chute on the F-16 seat has white, orange and green colours
The PAF surprised the IAF by launching AAMs from inside POK. The AMRAAM effectively outranged the IAF AAMs, which did not get launch commands. Keeping the M2000s away from the F-16s was a priority for the PAF.
Abhinandan's act of engaging the lower pair of F-16s disrupted their plan to shoot down an IAF Sukhoi. Abhi scored the first F-16 kill by a Mig-21.
The PAF achieved its aim in creating numerical superiority on the LC at a time when no IAF AWACS was in air, with only 8 IAF aircraft to oppose its daring attack. The small number of IAF pilots did well to fill the gaps in a timely manner.
The IAF urgently needs a host of upgrades from next generation aircraft, more AWACS for a two-front war, better EW, encrypted comm and long range air to air missiles of the Meteor class. The PAF has done well to upgrade its F-16 fleet in last 10 years.
Just for the record, the Sukhois took on best that the PAF had to use against them, their superior training and tactics helping them avoid the infamous AMRAAM 'Pitball Bucket' in good order. By the time they turned hot, the F16s went cold.
The engagement lasted approx. 1000-1030h. By the time IAF's AWACS reached on station, vectoring 2 MiG-29UPGs and more Su-30MKIs towards the Rajouri area, the PAF had turned turtle, leaving in a jiffy after the F16 loss.
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