As February 27th 2021 marks the 2nd anniversary of the 2019 Indo-Pakistan skirmishes, netizens of both nations began to reopen this very controversial chapter of aerial warfare yet again. While misinformation has plagued the social media, and ego the minds of netizens, there are several fallacies which the Pakistani side fails to acknowledge. From bombs uprooting trees to the infamous “Doosra Banda” controversy, the aim of this editorial is to address the fact as to how the Pakistani government and the Pakistan Air Force has lies about not only this conflict, but every other conflict it has participated in, and still managed to get away with it…
- “Bombs that killed a crow”: On the early hours of 26th February 2019, 12 Indian Air Force Mirage-2000’s (unconfirmed number) entered the Pakistan Airspace for a brief period of time to conduct a surgical strike against a Jaish terrorist camp located on the Jaba Top, located near the town of Balakot. All the 5 bombs dropped that morning, found their mark, and destroyed their intended target. The strike was an enormous success, as it was confirmed by on-ground and electronic intelligence sources. In a few hours’ time however, the DG-ISPR, had tweeted that none of the bombs found their mark, and it was all deployed under a “hasty withdrawal”.
In another separate tweet, the ISPR had uploaded 4 photographs of showing destruction caused by the bombs that “missed their target”. The pictures showed burnt trees and a dead crow. While netizens of Pakistan claim that the bombs only managed to kill a crow, there is a big catch in the photographs
The image shows parts of a bomb, which were allegedly dropped by the Indian Mirages. Another image shows a crater caused by the so-called bomb, but what the Pakistanis didn’t know (until later on), that the IAF had employed the penetrator version of the SPICE 2000 bombs, which didn’t utilize a High Explosive warhead, but a warhead which uses shockwaves generated from near-vertical penetration to kill ‘soft-skinned targets’ (bunker-busting roles). The difference seems very clear as similar bombs were used by Israelis and Russians over Syria. The sites destroyed by these penetrator bombs showed a deep penetration mark, in contrast to a shallow entry point with a wide blackened surrounding. The last point indeed proves that the images were not of failed SPICE munitions, but controlled HE bomb explosions done to fabricate falsehood.
Another fact is that the variant used had a GPS guidance kit, and not a T.V guided kit. This implies that the coordinates were already fed into the Terrain Matching algorithm, which would compare the data pre-fed v/s real-time data being captured using the guidance kit to mark its trajectory. This has a proven result of 100% accuracy, by the Israeli Air Force. Thus the factor of human error is completely baseless here.
You can learn detailed events about Operation Bandar via this highly recommended comic:
- F-16s were not used during “Operation Swift Retort”: On the 27th of February 2019, the Pakistan Air Force retaliated with “Operation Swift Retort”, to demonstrate that they too could penetrate the Indian airspace and conduct a strike at a time and place of their choice. The ensuing aerial skirmish, which lasted for about 30 minutes ( approximately from 0945HRS to 1015HRS IST), saw duel of Indian and Pakistani fighter jets over the Line of Control (LoC), when 1 MiG-21 was shot down by PAF. Initially, the PAF claimed that no F-16s were used during the operation, but subsequently, that evening the Indian Air Force in a press conference, presented the wreckage of an AIM-120C AMRAAM. The Pakistanis refuted this by saying that the AIM-120C was fired by JF-17, which a fighter jet jointly developed by China and Pakistan. It is to be noted that no other aircraft in the Pakistan Air Force’s inventory could not fire the AIM120C. The JF-17, on the other hand, was only configured to fire the Chinese made PL-5E missiles and the SD-10/10A missiles. This clearly points out that Pakistan had used the F-16 against India, violating the end-user agreement with the U.S Government, which cites that they (Pakistan) should inform the US government before using them against any foreign aggressor.
- Counting the stars of Pakistan: The downing of Wing Commander Varthaman, came out with the fact that he brought down an F-16 along with him. This can be seen in the video here. Now the Pakistanis claimed, and still continue to claim that Abhinandan didn’t shoot down any aircraft. This was supported by an article by the ForeignPolicy, which quoted two anonymous sources from the U.S Sources saying that no F-16s were lost, and this was inferred after a physical check of all F-16s were done by these officials. This in itself has two contradictions:
- The US government never lets out the conclusions of such end-user agreement inspections to outside sources, as it is regarded as a state secret. If the results are being let out, it definitely means that it is not a possibility at the very first place. The conditions of inspections are such that it is only conducted in two circumstances. The first being the regular end-user agreement inspection which is done to review the aircraft maintenance, and the second being at a situation where it is impeding that a situation causes the inspection to take place (such as a war). These both however go on to happen only under the discretion of the US Government, but in the case the report clearly states that the officials were “invited” by Pakistan, which in itself goes against the end-user agreement.
- A manual lineup inspection of all Pakistani aircraft is not possible, as not only it would hamper the operations of the units flying the F-16s, but poses a big “sitting duck” in case India would decide to attack (in a hypothetical situation).
The very next day, the Hindustan Times came out with an article, which flatly refuses this statement. The HT article quoted a mail from the U.S government, which stated that it was “not aware” of any such inspections.
- Griffins v/s AMRAAM Dodgers: Since it is clear now that the F-16s were indeed used in combat that day (as BARCAP or BARrier Combat Air Patrol), lets bust another myth about a Su-30MKI being shot down by a PAF JF-17. To make my point much clearer, lets make a comparison between these claims, with that of the MiG-21 Shot Down by an F-16 the same day. As per the Pakistani government, a JF-17 had shot down an Indian Su-30MKI over the Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK), but these claims have no substantial evidences to be accepted. Unlike the case of Wg Cdr Abhinandan, there was no recorded footage of this dogfight from both sides of the LoC.
The Pakistanis then claimed that the wreckage fell into Indian Kashmir, and that the Indians were hiding the wreck. On the contrary, when Wg Cdr Abhinandan had shot down the F-16, Pakistan government had suspended internet connectivity over the entire region. Now for claims that it was indeed a Su-30MKI, the DG-ISPR had tweeted that they had captured 3 Indian pilots that morning, which later on, reduced to just 1 pilot by evening. What about the other two pilots? Even if they were Killed In action, and as per Pakistani claims, ejected over PoK, the Pakistani government should have atleast handed over their mortal remains to the Indian Government, which they clearly haven’t done till date. On the contrary, the F-16s had fired 4 AMRAAMs at the Sukhois,of which none of them hit their targets, earning the Sukhois the name of “AMRAAM dodgers.”
- The missile that never exploded: As per Pakistani claims, Wg Cdr Abhinandan hadn’t fired any of his missiles, and that all were recovered from the crash site intact. The ISPR had provided with images showing the missiles placed on a platform in Pakistani custody, to falsify Indian claims. This again was a fabricated claim, for the following reasons:
- While two of the missiles from the crash site showed immense damage, the missile which they claim to be unfired, remained relatively undamaged, here’s why. The particular MiG-21 carried 4 missiles, of which two were R77 and the other two were R-73 . As per both Indian and Pakistani claims, Wg Cdr Abhinandan had fired an R-73 on the Pakistani F-16. Of the R-73s, one was unfired, as it is clear from these visuals that the rocket motor is jammed to the launch pylon, signifying that it was with the aircraft while crashing. The other R-73, however, seems to be tampered with. The other R-73, with a missing mid-section, seems to be in a relatively undamaged condition, which seems odd.
- The images, taken over a period of time, show that the missiles actually develop proper, undamaged canards, as compared to the initial images, which show broken canards.
- The ISPR released the images several months after the incident, unlike the IAF, which released it the very next evening. Why would the ISPR delay the release of such a crucial evidence against Indian claims?
Have a read: