MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby Austin » 06 Mar 2019 23:23

Meanwhile in an alternate world far away from earth where JF-17 rulez the planet and combat ( for a good comic relief )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3ZNtzjRJtw

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby ramana » 06 Mar 2019 23:24

sudeepj wrote:In 1966, Israel got its hands on a MiG-21, with major benefits for itself and the US Air Force.

http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArch ... ughnut.pdf

On Aug. 16, 1966, Iraqi Air Force Capt. Munir Radfa defected to Israel in a MiG-21 jet fighter. The MiG-21 was, at the time, a state-of-the-art Soviet aircraft and the pride of Russia’s aircraft industry. The defection, orchestrated by the Israeli government, soon gave both Israel and the United States access to intelligence from a front-line Soviet fighter that the two nations would face in battle in the coming years.


While its armament was adequate for an interceptor, US analysts found the Fishbed’s gunsight deficient.“The tracking index drifts off the bottom of the windscreen when track-ing targets in excess of three Gs,” reads a declassified report from the Defense Intelligence Agency. Typical of delta-wing aircraft, the airspeed bleed-off during high-G turns was excessive. This speed-bleed decreased the MiG’s turn radius, however, and the G force could be sustained at slower speeds than comparable US fighters.Obviously, in a turning fight, this gave the Fishbed a tactical advantage.The DIA assessment identified several major aerodynamic limitations in the MiG-21. These included:
    Exceptionally heavy pitch force required above 685 mph.
    Severe buffeting below 15,000 feet when approaching 685 mph or a .98 indicated Mach number.
    Exceptionally slow engine accelera-tion from idle to full military power.Poor directional stability in tur-bulence.


It is noteworthy that by the time the US became heavily engaged in the Vietnam War, the Soviet spon-sors and North Vietnamese Air Force commanders very effectively planned around the Fishbed’s limitations. They never committed their fighters unless there was a good chance of success and subsequent escape. In fact, in 80 percent of the North Vietnamese Air Force kills, the victims were unaware they were under attack.As USAF’s “Red Baron” study of aerial warfare in Vietnam determined, before the US obtained effective radar coverage of North Vietnam, the winner of an air engagement usually initiated the combat from a position of nearly unbeatable advantage.


Typically, DIA found, the Fishbeds were “vectored into the rear hemi-sphere for a high-speed, single-pass attack,” generally from a cross-course intercept.For example, when US fighters were bombing targets north of Hanoi, such as the Paul Doumer Bridge, en-emy MiG-21s would be vectored by ground control intercept radar from Chinese airspace to a position behind the Phantoms.

As the F-4s pulled up from their target, the MiGs would launch Atoll missiles and zoom back to political sanctuary in China. Air forces called these attacks “blow-throughs.”

At high altitude the Fishbed’s small size made it very difficult to visu-ally acquire or keep in sight while maneuvering. In a frontal or trailing attack, its slight silhouette also made it difficult to acquire on radar.


Despite being heavier, both the F-105D and F-4 were found basically superior to the MiG-21. Maintaining a high airspeed and avoiding turning engagements was the key to US success, although the F-4 was also aerodynami-cally superior in a vertical contest.

The Have Doughnut tests showed the F-4 had the capability “to control an engagement below 15,000 feet by ex-ploiting the MiG-21 airspeed limitation and airspeed bleed-off characteristic at high G.” In a visual encounter, the recommendation was to get behind the MiG and operate “in the vertical” during air combat maneuvering.


This is what was tried by Abhinandan's victim, the F16 first dove down, and then shot up. No escaping the off-bore sight capability of the R73. In an AWACS controlled environment, if the radar beam from the Mig21 can be narrowed, or alternatively, if the AWACS can generate a Fire Control Solution for the missile on the Mig, this can still be a very competitive airplane.

I am also wondering, how many of the issues identified here in the original 1966 Mig21 have been fixed in the bis and then the Bison.


Sudeepj, Thanks for this find. its exactly what happened and explains the F-16 maneuvers that day.

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby Lalmohan » 06 Mar 2019 23:27

and yet the F16 was designed specifically to out turn the mig 21 in a close fight - something the f4 couldn't do (as above)
so either the D is not as agile or that was the trap to let the top cover f16's get an amraam lock

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby Singha » 06 Mar 2019 23:29

imo the kopyo radar may have elevation angle limitations and hence he sought to escape with a steep climb.
but the the mig21 also a strong climber.

if instead he had tried the fabled sustained turn rate STR of the F-solah in horizontal plane, he may have lost the Mig as delta wings do not enjoy the kind of STR the F-solah does....a series of sharp turns may have lost the mig21 on his tail.

also if indeed a amraam hit his mig, he seems to have landed with no injury from the blast seen in videos...and the mig is small a/c. amraam is supposed to have lethal pre frag directional warhead. i wonder if his engine flamed out after all that hard movements. the overwing side fairings of bison have chaff and flares which I guess the pilot manually triggers .... on being warned a amraam was behind him may have triggered the chaff and amraam exploded a bit behind not beside the a.c......

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby Lalmohan » 06 Mar 2019 23:37

yes exactly, and some of the alleged mango Abdul phone footage does show two aircraft in a turning fight... that could have been the first merge

how far is the mangla dam and the cap on top of that? if f16d did a fast climb up and pulled abhi in behind, it would give a clearer radar picture for them to get a lock. I expect (but don't know) his wingman went with him and the 2nd and 3rd amraams missed him - could be that the f16's didn't get a clean lock due to manoeuvre or ecm or just plain luck. possible that fizzlies got excited about hitting both bisons (outside visual range) and called it in - and that's where the 2 shot down story emerged... of course seconds +/- f16d got an r73 up its Musharraf which wasn't in the script

there was one pic of the mig on the ground which showed extensive shrapnel damage to the tail fin - possible that the amraam did a proximity fuse burst and that severed critical controls/feeds in the rear of the bison -meaning abhi might have almost missed it but was unlucky

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby Lalmohan » 06 Mar 2019 23:53

ok, had a look - mangla dam to ~bhimber is about 35-40kms or the area where the fight took place is easy for a 4 ship cap over mangla dam/lake to target using amraams. I think they took the shot at the two bisons in the vertical climb and got the hell out before the Su30's swung into range. abhi was unlucky to be hit

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby sudeepj » 07 Mar 2019 00:28

Lalmohan wrote:and yet the F16 was designed specifically to out turn the mig 21 in a close fight - something the f4 couldn't do (as above)
so either the D is not as agile or that was the trap to let the top cover f16's get an amraam lock


I have read this elsewhere.. that 'the F16 is an energy fighter'.. It has a great thrust to weight ratio, but even this advantage gets nullified by the Russian 2 emergency afterburner, at least for three minutes. :-)

The F16 driver was doing the right thing, trying to fight in the vertical plane, but once the R73 is on your ass, there is no beating it. The F16 driver must have known that the Mig21 is not easy to recover from a dive, so he dove first, then tried to beat Abhinandana by climbing using his superior thrust to weight ratio. I guess Abhinandana must have started using his emergency thrust around this time, or he may not have followed the F16 all the way in the dive.

R73 has at least a 60 degree off boresight capability, just imagine the kill cone of that missile. So however hard the F16 might have turned, there was again no way to escape the Mig, which has a much higher instantaneous turn rate. The Mig will simply cross the F16's circle and shoot him down. The F16 has little advantage in WVR combat, against a better trained IAF. A 1-for-1 exchange of F16 with the Mig-21Bison is something that the IAF will probably not complain too much about.

In an awacs controlled environment, the radar advantage of the F16 is also nullified. The only things that remain are the long range BVR, the extra fuel.. If a few squadrons of Bison are to serve some more years, I think integration of the latest & greatest long range BVR, not the first gen R77, can make it a viable point defense fighter.

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby Karan M » 07 Mar 2019 00:35

Lalmohan wrote:ok, had a look - mangla dam to ~bhimber is about 35-40kms or the area where the fight took place is easy for a 4 ship cap over mangla dam/lake to target using amraams. I think they took the shot at the two bisons in the vertical climb and got the hell out before the Su30's swung into range. abhi was unlucky to be hit


I think they deliberately targeted the Su-30s for maximum damage, from their PR perspective. The IAF is very precise with its commentary. They note the Su-30s were targeted and defeated the threat, so basically the gambit was to somehow knock down a few IAF planes, especially the Su-30s (or any other high-perception target like the Mirage 2000, but the Su-30 was the nearer, larger target) and also score a few big fireballs on IAF formations.

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby Prasad » 07 Mar 2019 00:37

Vectored by their own erieye which might've been deep in their skies.

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby ramana » 07 Mar 2019 00:42

Also if the AIM-120C hit the MiG-21 remember its warhead is about 40 lbs.
That blast would have shredded the MiG-21 and the pilot would have more serious injuries if not dead.
Wing Commander Abhinandan ejected from the MiG-21 and was injured by the PoK villagers.

I go with UB theory of flame out.

SudeepJ, The R-73 warhead is fragmentation or continuous rod like the AA-12?

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby Shameek » 07 Mar 2019 01:06

The R-73 is a continuous rod warhead. Some details on the missile from Global Security

The missile design features a canard aerodynamic configuration: control surfaces are positioned ahead of the wing at a distance from the center of mass. The airframe consists of modular compartments accommodating the homing head, aerodynamic control surface drive system, autopilot, proximity fuze, warhead, engine, gas-dynamic control system and aileron drive system. The lifting surfaces have a small aspect ratio. Strakes are mounted ahead of the aerodynamic control surfaces. The combined aero-gas-dynamic control gives the R-73 highly maneuverable flight characteristics. During flight, yaw and pitch are controlled by four aerodynamic control surfaces connected in pairs and by just as many gas-dynamic spoilers (fins) installed at the nozzle end of the engine.

Control with engine not operating is provided by aerodynamic control surfaces. Roll stabilization of the missile is maintained with the help of four mechanically interconnected ailerons mounted on the wings. Drives of all missile controls are gas, powered from a solid-propellant gas generator.

The passive infrared homing head supports target lock-on before launch. Guidance to the predicted position is by the proportional navigation method. The missile's combat equipment consists of an active proximity (radar or laser) fuse and impact fuse and a continuous-rod warhead. The engine operates on high-impulse solid propellant and has a high-tensile steel case.

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby Rakesh » 07 Mar 2019 01:25

Beautifully put by Saurav Jha....

https://twitter.com/SJha1618/status/1103177551764062208 ---> The future of the Indian Air Force are the Tejas family and the AMCA. India needs a military that is actually usable to prosecute foreign policy. India must escalate and de-escalate as and when its supreme interests dictate. For that indigenization is an imperative.

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby Rakesh » 07 Mar 2019 01:27

Shameek wrote:The R-73 is a continuous rod warhead. Some details on the missile from Global Security.

Good find Shameek. Adding this picture of an explosion of a continuous rod warhead.

http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Continuous-rod_warhead ---> A continuous-rod warhead is a specialized munition that exhibits an annular blast fragmentation pattern, so that when it explodes it spreads into a large circle that cuts the target. It is used in anti-aircraft and anti-missile missiles.

Image

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby Rakesh » 07 Mar 2019 01:39

https://twitter.com/SJha1618/status/1103247316113252353 ---> In their desperation, some dalals are even going to the extent of disparaging Wg Cdr Abhinandan's achievement by alleging that he 'disobeyed' ground controller instructions. IMO, Abhinandan actions were spot on given the situation & his initiative helped India scalp a PAF F-16.

https://twitter.com/SJha1618/status/1103247915386957824 ---> It was important that the PAF lost aircraft during their attempted strike on an Indian Army Brigade HQ. Given restrictive rules of engagement, close in combat would have been the only way to make them incur losses.

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby Rakesh » 07 Mar 2019 01:43

Well, some news to brighten your day. Pakis are so dumb! :P

https://twitter.com/aimal_khanPak/statu ... 4300672000 ---> Talking to The News, the retired air marshal said he had signed this agreement on behalf of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) as deputy chief of air staff (operations). He explained that Pakistan can use the F-16 jets for its defence against any country, including India.

Image

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby Shameek » 07 Mar 2019 01:52

Thanks Rakesh for the pictorial explanation. The article also quotes the following.
Their exceptionally high accuracy is ensured by the missile's main secret, the so-called transverse control engine, which rules out misses during the final approach trajectory. The transverse control engine is still without parallel in the world.


If anyone can explain the transverse control engine it would be educational. I had read a while back that the Israelis had used the R-73 as the baseline for the Python 4.

If this is OT on this thread please move to the Missiles thread.

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby ramana » 07 Mar 2019 02:12

See at the high speed the R-73 travels in the end zone it needs transverse/lateral pulses to do the steering as there is not enough space (v^2/R) to do the gradual turn needed for TVC.
Transverse control engine is essentially a motor with lateral/divert nozzles to provide the thrust.

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby ArjunPandit » 07 Mar 2019 02:16

Rakesh wrote:Well, some news to brighten your day. Pakis are so dumb! :P

https://twitter.com/aimal_khanPak/statu ... 4300672000 ---> Talking to The News, the retired air marshal said he had signed this agreement on behalf of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) as deputy chief of air staff (operations). He explained that Pakistan can use the F-16 jets for its defence against any country, including India.

well not that he's not dumb, but IIRC they put the bravado of F16 during obama drone strike era. Although as usual it was dark when USAF struck the border posts near afghanistan border

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby Shameek » 07 Mar 2019 02:17

ramana wrote:See at the high speed the R-73 travels in the end zone it needs transverse/lateral pulses to do the steering as there is not enough space (v^2/R) to do the gradual turn needed for TVC.
Transverse control engine is essentially a motor with lateral/divert nozzles to provide the thrust.


Makes sense. Thanks. Learnt something new today. :)

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby Rakesh » 07 Mar 2019 02:27

ArjunPandit wrote:
Rakesh wrote:Well, some news to brighten your day. Pakis are so dumb! :P

https://twitter.com/aimal_khanPak/statu ... 4300672000 ---> Talking to The News, the retired air marshal said he had signed this agreement on behalf of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) as deputy chief of air staff (operations). He explained that Pakistan can use the F-16 jets for its defence against any country, including India.

well not that he's not dumb, but IIRC they put the bravado of F16 during obama drone strike era. Although as usual it was dark when USAF struck the border posts near afghanistan border

ArjunPandit, the PAF till to date has vehemently denied that any F-16 took part in their counter strikes. By admitting that Pakistan has full use of the F-16 vis-à-vis any country, it just gives credence to the fact that F-16s were indeed involved. Further, that also gives weight to the fact that Wing Commander Abhinandhan Varthaman did indeed tangle with a F-16 and shot it down.

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby ArjunPandit » 07 Mar 2019 02:34

one question, what stops IAF from passing on the retiring or retired migs to colleges to colleges

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby Rakesh » 07 Mar 2019 02:37

ArjunPandit wrote:one question, what stops IAF from passing on the retiring or retired migs to colleges to colleges

Nothing and there probably already is.

Check out Jagan's Warbirds of India ---> www.warbirdsofindia.com

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby UlanBatori » 07 Mar 2019 03:41

Why not pass them on Paki madarssas along with handsome dowry of RDX, delivered at high speed from 30,000 feet straight dive?

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby ArjunPandit » 07 Mar 2019 04:27

without a pilot??? That reminds me we did have a plan to convert tejas to a drone...but given the production rate...

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby Y. Kanan » 07 Mar 2019 04:46

What ended up being the story behind this photo? Was there any reason to think it isn't PA officers inspecting what looks like the remains of an F-16 engine? Curious because everyone is saying no proof that a PAF F-16 was actually shot down but this photo would be pretty damning proof, assuming it was really taken when and where it was purported to be taken:

Image
Image

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby Rakesh » 07 Mar 2019 05:32

Y. Kanan wrote:What ended up being the story behind this photo? Was there any reason to think it isn't PA officers inspecting what looks like the remains of an F-16 engine? Curious because everyone is saying no proof that a PAF F-16 was actually shot down but this photo would be pretty damning proof, assuming it was really taken when and where it was purported to be taken:

No Saar, all Pakistani F-16s use the Pratt & Whitney F100 engine. Even the ones bought from Jordan use the P&W engine as well.

And as per picture below, the P&W engine has a honeycomb structure. See below...

P&W delivers F100-229 engines to PAF
http://www.f-16.net/f-16-news-article3906.html

Image

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby ks_sachin » 07 Mar 2019 05:40

ArjunPandit wrote:without a pilot??? That reminds me we did have a plan to convert tejas to a drone...but given the production rate...

Saar,
What is this LCA into drone business?
First let's get a proper UAV in to service.
Even if production rate was good you think we are in a position to make a drone of it?
All these plans and a lack of output or capability is why the Armed Forces have had a lack of confidence in DRDO.

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby Indrajit » 07 Mar 2019 05:59

But the engine cladding is almost the same in both the cases, in all probability this is the wreckage of the F-16 shot down by Wing Co Abhi.

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby Khalsa » 07 Mar 2019 06:09

I doubt it Saar if that is the wreckage

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby Rakesh » 07 Mar 2019 06:11

It is not the wreckage of the F-16. Pakistan will not release the wreckage of the F-16. It is not in their interest to do so.

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby Khalsa » 07 Mar 2019 06:18

Aye, hopefully we will hear about a F16 trainer crash after 7 years
Killing two pilots.

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby ramana » 07 Mar 2019 06:46

Rakesh,
What if the PAF did a switcheroo and got a P&W engine installed as F-16 program spares?
May be they bought it in the after market for F-16 spares from Turkey or Jordan or whom ever?
Couldn't put it past them!
We are being too legal and think Pakis will act like Indians.

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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby chetak » 07 Mar 2019 07:24

Doing the rounds in whatsapp groups



Who wins? : MiGs vs F 16 by Rakesh Krishnan


Just after 10 am on February 27, 2019, the Pakistan Air Force deployed "a large strike package" of modern F-16 Falcons, Chinese made JF-17s and some vintage Mirage-5 attack jets to avenge India's bombing of terror sanctuaries in Balakot, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The PAF's targets were Indian military installations - primarily the brigade headquarters in Bhimber Gali, Jammu, minutes from the Line of Control.

The Indian Air Force scrambled six MiG-21s from its frontline air base in Srinagar to intercept the Pakistani fighters; Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman's fighter was among these six aircraft. The IAF also despatched Sukhoi-30MKIs, Mirage-2000s and MiG-29s from other airbases to provide combat air patrol for the MiG-21 interceptors.

In the ensuing dogfight, the first between India and Pakistan since the 1971 War, Wing Commander Varthaman in his Soviet-era jet managed to acquire a lock on one of the F-16s, shooting it down with a short-range Vympel R-73 air to air missile. Although he couldn't see the outcome of the short 15-minute high-altitude dogfight, Varthaman radioed to base the words "R-73 selected". Seconds later he was himself shot down.

Being the first recorded F-16 kill in history, you'd think it would send ripples across the world of aviation. But curiously, Western defence experts maintained complete silence as the impact of what Varthaman had accomplished took the wind out of the F-16's fanboys.

Coping well at Cope India

Coincidentally, 15 years ago to the date, the MiG-21 (NATO reporting name: Fishbed) had defeated modern American F-series aircraft in a mock combat exercise, sending shock waves through the American defence establishment. In the space of just 13 days, at the Cope India exercise held at the Gwalior air force range from February 15-27, 2004, Indian pilots notched up an astounding 9:1 kill ratio against the all-powerful US Air Force, dealing a massive blow to the myth of invincibility of American air power. What happened at Gwalior will better explain how a six-decade-old jet that has been consigned to the boneyard by the Russians could defeat a modern F-16.

Held from February 15-27, Cope India 2004 highlighted three major issues:

The innovativeness of Indian fighter pilots.
The impact of Russian jets when flown by a highly trained and motivated crew.
The limitations in USAF pilot training.
While the Pentagon brass tried to knock the IAF's achievement, the USAF gave their Indian counterparts their due. Aviation Week & Space Technology's David A. Fulghum quotes Colonel Mike Snodgrass, commander of the USAF's 3rd Wing based at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska: "The outcome of the exercise boils down to (the fact that) they ran tactics that were more advanced than we expected...They could come up with a game plan, but if it wasn't working they would call an audible and change (tactics in flight)."

About the different IAF fighters the six F-15Cs from the American pilots encountered, Snodgrass said: "The two most formidable IAF aircraft proved to be the MiG-21 Bison, an upgraded version of the Russian-made baseline MiG-21, and the Su-30MK Flanker, also made in Russia."

About the capabilities of IAF pilots, USAF team leader Colonel Greg Newbech said: "What we've seen in the last two weeks is the IAF can stand toe-to-toe with the best air force in the world. I pity the pilot who has to face the IAF and chances the day to underestimate him; because he won't be going home."

"They made good decisions about when to bring their strikers in. The MiG-21s would be embedded with a (MiG-27) Flogger for integral protection. There was a data link between the Flankers that was used to pass information. They built a very good (radar) picture of what we were doing and were able to make good decisions about when to roll (their aircraft) in and out."

Clearly, it was the IAF's intense training that has given it the edge. A leading Indian newspaper summed up the aerial encounter: "The US Air Force underestimated the Indian Air Force pilots and their numerical skills. They thought these are another set of Iraqi or Iranian pilots."

A different spin in DC

Used to hearing the United States is second only to god, the US leadership nearly burst a collective artery. The USAF detachment had barely packed up its kits at Gwalior when Republican Congressman from California, Duke Cunningham, told a House Appropriations defence subcommittee hearing that USAF F-15Cs had been defeated more than 90 per cent of the time in direct combat exercises against the IAF.

Cunningham's revelation kicked up a huge uproar in Washington. Some Western military observers attempted to debunk the results, claiming the USAF did not bring its true 'go-to-war-gear' to these exercises and that the American pilots fought with several handicaps. What really happened?

Handicapped and totally unprepared

First up, it's true the F-15Cs that participated in Cope India 2004 were not equipped with the latest active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars. But then neither were the Indian jets. Secondly, at India's request the USAF agreed to offer combat at 3-to-1 odds, which meant the six American jets were up against 18 IAF aircraft. And finally, the Americans agreed not to simulate their beyond-visual-range (BVR) missiles. Doesn't look like a fair fight.

But wait, ask yourself, which air force would spend millions of dollars on a fortnight long exercise that ends in a turkey shoot? Not the IAF, which is a highly professional service. Also, why would the USAF bring all that high-octane military gear all that way just to get a drubbing?

The IAF believes its strength is dogfighting, for which it trains hard as Western air forces.. Secondly, the service did not deploy its advanced Su-30 MKI (NATO reporting name: Flanker), only the older Su-30, because the MKI's radar frequencies are classified. There's little advantage in letting your adversary's patron know your combat strategies.

The Indians wanting to even the odds is understandable but the United States accepting these handicaps seems counterintuitive. But in fact the USAF agreed because it was desperate to get a close look at the legendary Flanker.

Why the USAF came up short

The lopsided result can be explained in the difference in combat styles of the two air forces. While the IAF varied aircraft mixes, altitudes and formations, the American pilot seemed stuck in the static Cold War-style of ground-controlled interceptions, which gives little leeway to the individual pilot. Weaknesses in crew performance and limitations in their range of action were evident during the simulated aerial combat.

Also, US fighter pilots train in a closed system where belief in the America military's superiority reigns supreme. The strategy is that overwhelming numbers - recall the 1,000 aircraft raids over defenceless and tiny Iraq - and technological pyrotechnics will allow the US to dominate without sweating it out. With the notable exception of Vietnam, the US has never take on a large or well-trained military - and probably never will - so the strategy has worked for it.

Also, the 1982 wipeout of the Syrian Air Force over the Bekka Valley by the Israeli Air Force in which 82 Syrian MiGs were downed against the loss of perhaps two American-built Israeli jets had reinforced the belief that US jet fighters are invincible. It was Cope India 2004 that showed the quality of the men in uniform matters more than the jets they fly.

Cope India 2005: Repeat performance

Because of the storm kicked up by Cope India 2004 -which threatened the growing Indo-US partnership - the following year the IAF and USAF opted for exercises that had mixed teams of Indian and American pilots on both sides. But observers and participants at the exercise said in a surprising number of encounters - particularly between USAF F-16s and Indian Su-30 MKIs - the Indian pilots came out on top.

Cope India 2005 proved the previous year's IAF performance was no fluke. The late air commodore Jasjit Singh, who was the then director of the new Delhi-based Centre for Air Power Studies, said: "Since the Cold War, there has been the general assumption that India is a third world country with Soviet technology, and wherever Soviet-supported equipment went, it didn't perform well. That myth has been blown away by the results.."

Air power dynamics

For the Americans, Cope India was a wakeup call as it had grossly underestimated an old Cold Warrior. While it expected the Mirage-2000s and Sukhoi to be potent adversaries, the MiG-21 Bison came as a nasty surprise to the USAF. The positive attributes of the MiG-21 such as low radar visibility, instantaneous turn rate and "jackrabbit acceleration" were critical factors that gave it an edge.

Plus, its new of helmet mounted sight and high-off-boresight R-73 air-to-air missiles turned the MiG-21 into a "Great Equaliser" in the WVR (within visual range) combat scenario. (The Vympel's ability to rapidly scan a wider angle of the sky in front of it gave Varthaman a huge advantage against his F-16 rival.)

This has serious implications for modern aircraft armed with powerful long range capabilities and weapons. At some stage these aircraft will have to come within visual range and that's when pocket rockets like the MiG-21 can be deadly. As Benjamin Lambeth of the Rand Corporation so succinctly put its, "In visual combat everybody dies at the same rate."

Fly with caution

Varathaman's heroics should not be a thumbs-up for the IAF to keep flying ancient warhorses. A critical factor in the MiG-21's F-16 kill over Jammu & Kashmir was the combat air patrol provided by the Sukhoi Su-30s, MiG-29s and Mirage-2000s. The extremely long range capabilities of the Su-30s and its legendary super-manoeuvrability give it a huge edge in a dogfight that the much smaller F-16 cannot match. The Sukhoi has a loiter and combat persistence ability that has no Western equivalent.

The knowledge that both these air superiority fighters - plus the powerful Mirage-2000s - could enter the dogfight any time and blow them out of the sky was no doubt weighing on the minds of the PAF pilots.

While appreciating the good word done by the IAF, it is important to keep in mind that the MiG-21 is a 65-year-old design and has an unprecedented crash rate that has taken the lives of at least 177 Indian pilots. And let's not forget that Varthaman's MiG-21 was unable to shake off the powerful AMRAAM air-to-air missile fired at it. The MiG-21 belongs in a boneyard, not in Srinagar where by default it becomes India's frontline aircraft - a role it was given when it first entered the IAF fleet in 1964.

(Rakesh Krishnan is a New Zealand-based defence and foreign affairs analyst)


UlanBatori
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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby UlanBatori » 07 Mar 2019 07:30

Bugger is sure the MiG was downed by an AMRAAM? How did the pilot escape unscathed?

(Ulan Batori is a Mongolian-based yak herder, dung-sweeper and Strategic Affairs Analyst for UNCN, the Duniya's greatest and most accurate source for accurate in-depth probing analysis. )
Last edited by UlanBatori on 07 Mar 2019 07:48, edited 3 times in total.

Singha
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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby Singha » 07 Mar 2019 07:38

Turkiye F-solahs use the GE 110 engine. i believe GE is perceived as the more reliable engine across the F-solah and F-15 fleet.
turkiye also got their F-solahs in early 80s under a program called peace onyx.

whenever the US arms its puppet regimes around the globe, the project is always "peace xyz" just like the most undemocratic of regimes preface their names with "Democratic ..." (E.germany, Noko)

UlanBatori
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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby UlanBatori » 07 Mar 2019 07:54

Official Pakistan confirmation that Pakistani F-16s fired on Indian planes INSIDE India
Great job bringing the F-16 back undamaged after shooting down TWO Indian planes inside India! Next stop Delhi?

Need a few more confirmations please???

Singha
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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby Singha » 07 Mar 2019 08:33

Everyone is a ghazi on twitter

Harsh realities are only for the f16 drivers who need to patrol the front

UlanBatori
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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby UlanBatori » 07 Mar 2019 08:35

Bliss to add your confirmation please? A few more and it becomes the "established truth". Then Americans have to respond.

Bishwa
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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby Bishwa » 07 Mar 2019 08:48

https://indianexpress.com/article/india ... 1-5614615/

The americans seem to confirm that such large AMRAAM debris means it missed target.

UlanBatori
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Re: MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

Postby UlanBatori » 07 Mar 2019 08:54

One missed, the other missed the Air Asia flight and hit a helicopter instead. NOW u c why Pakis closed down airspace and hid for a week: they expected Indians to "think" like them and launch BVR missiles at PITA flights. Pity India hasn't shot down a few Paki helicopters, hope that's on the cards. Entire Gilgit/ K-2 areas can be sanitized and depakked if a few helos are downed.


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