MiG-21 Bison shoots down F-16 in Kashmir

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

Postby Karan M » 27 Mar 2019 10:10

Nikhil T, all these years on BR and you post this risible rubbish? This rubbish passes for details in your mind? These are facts??

I dont know which is more absurd, the article or your defence of it.

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

Postby Prem Kumar » 27 Mar 2019 10:12

I would take anything that Coupta says with a bottle of salt. He is a shameless liar. He has a pre-decided agenda and will selectively report half-truths mixed with lies to serve that agenda.

How many of the "facts" in the above article are:
1) Truths
2) Half-truths
3) Lies

....is something we will never know. So, safe to flush it into the toilet.

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

Postby Nikhil T » 27 Mar 2019 10:19

Karan M wrote:Nikhil T, all these years on BR and you post this risible rubbish? This rubbish passes for details in your mind? These are facts??

I dont know which is more absurd, the article or your defence of it.


Seriously? I’m only asking gurus to disconfirm or confirm the info presented in the article. What’s wrong with that?

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

Postby MeshaVishwas » 27 Mar 2019 10:23

Nikhil T wrote:
Karan M wrote:Nikhil T, all these years on BR and you post this risible rubbish? This rubbish passes for details in your mind? These are facts??

I dont know which is more absurd, the article or your defence of it.


Seriously? I’m only asking gurus to disconfirm or confirm the info presented in the article. What’s wrong with that?

(F)article is beeyess.
But CouptaJi has a wild imagination for sure.

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

Postby rajpa » 27 Mar 2019 10:23

* Four Sukhoi-30s, the IAF’s most powerful air-superiority aircraft, were involved in the melee at beyond visual range (BVR). They were surprised by the PAF F-16s firing their American AMRAAM missiles from so far that their own radar/computer/missiles were not able to give them a “firing solution”. Translated: India’s best fighter, which constitutes half of the IAF’s combat force, was outranged and outgunned. :?:


It is more likely that the Solahs just shat in their pants when they saw the Rambhas dancing in the distance and threw what they could at them without even hoping to get a hit.

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

Postby Karan M » 27 Mar 2019 10:27

What kind of person, doesnt understand that in BVR combat when fired on first, you either deploy countermeasures and deploy to escape the missile or take a risk and head on regardless, knowing AMRAAM can come from the flanks where coverage from onboard EW will be minimal, same as on most WW platforms . The Sukhois did the former. Their radars cant see 360 degrees, and with Phalcon info/GCI they maintain awareness but cant fire back till they are safe.

Next, Micas were purchased with the upgrade. At best their delivery would be expedited. Conclusion, made up stories.

Third, datalink program is tied to IAF SDR which has been stuck because of interoperability concerns. Only some 400 radios are being purchased for phase 1, of which half are for ground elements. ODL will sit on the radios. Su30s already have a datalink. Conclusion, he is again cooking up a mess. If it was purely babu led, why didnt we purchase many more radios for fleet wide deployment?

And we have long term BRF guys take this guy seriously.

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

Postby Karan M » 27 Mar 2019 10:31

Nikhil T wrote:
Karan M wrote:Nikhil T, all these years on BR and you post this risible rubbish? This rubbish passes for details in your mind? These are facts??

I dont know which is more absurd, the article or your defence of it.


Seriously? I’m only asking gurus to disconfirm or confirm the info presented in the article. What’s wrong with that?


I am surprised that after all these years you cant see through each and every claim yourself!! By now you could have taken his class.

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

Postby Aditya_V » 27 Mar 2019 10:35

Lets not get worked up, Shekhar Gupta like many Delhi Circuit journos gets a cut from Defense imports, this is all about building opinion in favour of the MMRCA, no foreign country or an army of Dalals within India is interested in us developing our Indian capabilities, see his whole attack is on the NDA and Indian production i.e make in India.

We know from judges to bureaucrats everyone gets influenced by Media articles, so he is trying to make a quick buck from 27 feb incident

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

Postby dipak » 27 Mar 2019 10:37

He begins a para by squarely naming the blame dates back to 'Vajpayee government' in 2001. That's for 3 years max (2001-2004). But, he never mentions 'MMS govt' for full 10 years who sat on it for one reason or the other. He passingly mentions of Antony, trying to cover him in the name of various committees.

Can't we see his obvious bias? What truth and facts are expected from Print and Coupta combo?
He is the same guy who originated the coup story.
Tiger never changes its spots.

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

Postby Aditya_V » 27 Mar 2019 10:42

And he happily forgets the key think, the fear psychosis in the whole Government and bureaucracy in the name of anti corruption the whole Tehlka saga cost India the M-2000 -5 deal. Yes Babus and MOD who could be bribed by women and money earlier were caught but there was no involvement of George Fernandes who has cleared by CBI courts during UPA rule.

I hope these lesson's are clear on everyone.

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

Postby manjgu » 27 Mar 2019 10:52

1) " Which brings us to our central question: Should we have even been having this conversation today if we had the military capability to match our economy (eight times Pakistan’s) and strategic ambition? February 27 reminded us that we don’t." is surely the only truth IMHO. 2) the Bofors episode has cast a shadow on all defence accquisition...so the original crime is of the congress .

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

Postby disha » 27 Mar 2019 11:01

Nikhil T wrote:Some previously unknown info here

[https://www.hindustantimes.com/columns/opinion-what-the-iaf-paf-dogfight-reveals/story-dDa4H38Xtq7LPnj6DtkZRN.html]Shekhar Gupta: What the IAF PAF dogfight reveals]


There is Lies. Damned Lies. And then there is Coupta. Coupta beats a damned liar any time. There is no point in going through the farticle and refute anything. The name "Coupta" itself makes it complete farticle.

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

Postby VikramA » 27 Mar 2019 11:10

The same Print website has a news report by Col. Vinayak Bhat (Retd), that the Paki are claiming that there was an accident during refueling PAF fighter in Multan on 25 march and that this is the cover they will use to write off the downed F-16.

Jittery Pakistan shut Multan airport not because it ‘shot’ own JF-17 jet or terror attack
https://theprint.in/defence/jittery-pak ... ck/212141/

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

Postby Karan M » 27 Mar 2019 11:14

Manjgu, no amount of military expenditure would allow our Sukhois to not maneuver, unless they took the first shot. That is ROE, not aircraft capability.

Mica armed Mirages are in this spot as well. No guarantee we would have some magic EW available at the right time either.

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

Postby nachiket » 27 Mar 2019 11:16

Guys please remember that Shekhar Gupta is the man who straight up invented a coup and sullied the name of the COAS and the IA to sell his newspaper. It is impossible to take anything seriously from someone who can sink to such depths.

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

Postby manjgu » 27 Mar 2019 11:33

Karan M... i think u misunderstood my views. I understand all about ROE, BVR etc. The point is that as a country which is 7 to 8 times larger economically as compared to NAPakis we dont have the overwhelming superiority over Pakis. A kind of superiority that makes them think 10000000 times before they needle us. We have not spent money wisely ...too many delays etc etc. they have been continuing needling us and its only now we did something substantial or atleast made a move.

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

Postby Karan M » 27 Mar 2019 11:41

Manjgu, they sent frontier corps guys into Afghanistan to kill Americans. Kept OBL in Abbotabad. Jihad and Islamist supremacy runs their thought process and no matter how well equipped we are, they will continue picking fights with us.

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

Postby manjgu » 27 Mar 2019 11:49

Karan... the Pakis are not idiots or brain dead. They have continued to pick fights because we dont inflict sufficient costs on them.... its been a vvv low cost vvvv low risk affair for them. hope we can reverse it.

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

Postby habal » 27 Mar 2019 12:24

my only question from that entire coupta baloney is, was wc abhi's mig-21 really radio jammed and he could not hear the controller's instructions. If so, why were the MiG-21's deployed at Srinagar left in this state. Is it not criminal negligance.

MiG-29 scramble times take just 3 mins. But being powerful it takes just 240m to takeoff. Does it not mitigate the MiG-21 30 sec advantage to an extent.

Thirdly why are people like coupta given a free hand to write this tripe ? Does he want to boost morale of terrorists and a terror supporting state's self-esteem. What is he trying to do here and why is he not penalized for supporting terror by backhand in such a crucial juncture.

It is only NYT and some other transnational organizations that supported ISIS while they were at their peak that feel pressured to support pakistan pov and deride Indian armed forces. No other news media or other organisation in world feels so pressuered to do the same. Links between coupta's diarhhea and NYT's random pukes against IAF obsolescence need to be studied. I would not be surprised if coupta is in take of some subversive western based group which backs hillary+isis+nusra etc.

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

Postby Lalmohan » 27 Mar 2019 14:15

need to pause and breathe and listen to some old songs
"you spin me right round, like a record baby, right round round round
you spin me right round, like a record baby..."

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

Postby Pratyush » 27 Mar 2019 16:13

manjgu wrote:Karan M... i think u misunderstood my views. I understand all about ROE, BVR etc. The point is that as a country which is 7 to 8 times larger economically as compared to NAPakis we dont have the overwhelming superiority over Pakis. A kind of superiority that makes them think 10000000 times before they needle us. We have not spent money wisely ...too many delays etc etc. they have been continuing needling us and its only now we did something substantial or atleast made a move.



Given the state of mind the Pakistanis inhabit. No amount of military superiority will ever stop Pakistanis from thinking of attacking us.

The only way such mindset can be defeated is to totally destroy them. It's not possible for us to be able to destroy them at the moment.

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

Postby SidSoma » 27 Mar 2019 17:00

habal wrote:my only question from that entire coupta baloney is, was wc abhi's mig-21 really radio jammed and he could not hear the controller's instructions. If so, why were the MiG-21's deployed at Srinagar left in this state. Is it not criminal negligance.

1. For sure Gupta is speculating that radio was jammed, only because he was the only one who engaged the adversary.


habal wrote:MiG-29 scramble times take just 3 mins. But being powerful it takes just 240m to takeoff. Does it not mitigate the MiG-21 30 sec advantage to an extent.

So, Why send an air dominance fighter to do an interceptors job. Look at the outcome. We won !! that is all that matters. This situation can repeat a 100 times over with the same result.

habal wrote:Thirdly why are people like coupta given a free hand to write this tripe ? Does he want to boost morale of terrorists and a terror supporting state's self-esteem. What is he trying to do here and why is he not penalized for supporting terror by backhand in such a crucial juncture.

It is only NYT and some other transnational organizations that supported ISIS while they were at their peak that feel pressured to support pakistan pov and deride Indian armed forces. No other news media or other organisation in world feels so pressuered to do the same. Links between coupta's diarhhea and NYT's random pukes against IAF obsolescence need to be studied. I would not be surprised if coupta is in take of some subversive western based group which backs hillary+isis+nusra etc.


Freedom of Speech nonsense.

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

Postby habal » 27 Mar 2019 17:12

coupta's sources are western, he used to host a show on ndtv called 'walk the talk' in which most of his invitees used to be what we know as 'western power elite'. So if he can manage to inveigle himself into that rarified circle of lootyens, he gets most of his info from foreign defence attaches or spies masquerading as diplos.

being a journalist, he regurgitated all that he heard over drinks and added his own witty one-liners to show himself as 'ohh-so-smart'. If foreign intelligence thinks that radio jamming was reason for abhi losing touch with his ground controller then I am wondering what other stuff they know that they didn't divulge to coupta.

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

Postby rajpa » 27 Mar 2019 17:37

being a journalist, he regurgitated all that he heard over drinks and added his own witty one-liners to show himself as 'ohh-so-smart'. If foreign intelligence thinks that radio jamming was reason for abhi losing touch with his ground controller then I am wondering what other stuff they know that they didn't divulge to coupta.


it was probably all just cocktail gossip. "foreign intelligence" will naturally think the only reason that abhi dashed off across loc to smash that f16 was because he couldnt hear ground control.

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

Postby Karan M » 27 Mar 2019 17:41

manjgu wrote:Karan... the Pakis are not idiots or brain dead. They have continued to pick fights because we dont inflict sufficient costs on them.... its been a vvv low cost vvvv low risk affair for them. hope we can reverse it.


Manjgu, until and unless we have all out war, you cannot inflict " sufficient" costs on them of the type you envisage, using our conventional military's all up capabilities. Even after that, unless it is decisive beyond measure, Pakistan will claim propaganda and claim victory. Never admit its losses for instance. If we had shot down 10 Paki aircraft in BVR, all crashed in Pak, lost 3 in return, all ours would be declared, Pakistan would admit 2 and claim victory.

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

Postby SidSoma » 27 Mar 2019 17:50

habal wrote:coupta's sources are western, he used to host a show on ndtv called 'walk the talk' in which most of his invitees used to be what we know as 'western power elite'. So if he can manage to inveigle himself into that rarified circle of lootyens, he gets most of his info from foreign defence attaches or spies masquerading as diplos.

being a journalist, he regurgitated all that he heard over drinks and added his own witty one-liners to show himself as 'ohh-so-smart'. If foreign intelligence thinks that radio jamming was reason for abhi losing touch with his ground controller then I am wondering what other stuff they know that they didn't divulge to coupta.


Habalji, we were just discussing the other day about the centralised node directing the fighters and blah blah. The diagram indicated that even data to/from fighters were sent across to the room, which aided in integrated command. I dont think IAF is so incompetent not to think of secure links.

Either ways, if f16 shoot down is being attributed to radio jamming. They will not dare to jam next time lest a few more f16s are shot.

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

Postby Karan M » 27 Mar 2019 18:15

Here is the real lowdown on what happened from an air combat professional not Aroor etc.

Ignore the would have, could have etc. Hes clearly giving the low down on what happened, with obvious constraints on not being able to officially represent the IAF, same as Sameer Joshi reported from his sources etc.

Balakot and After: IAF demonstrates full spectrum capability
https://www.firstpost.com/world/balakot ... 36391.html

By Air Vice-Marshal Arjun Subramaniam - a retired fighter pilot who has flown both the MiG-21 and the Mirage 2000. He is also an air power analyst and military historian.

The Naushera sub-sector of Jammu and Kashmir has tremendous significance for the Indian armed forces as it has seen much action in all the three wars with Pakistan (47-48, 1965 and 1971). Located between Poonch and Rajouri, it is part of the Indian Army’s 16 Corps, which undertakes the defence of the Line of Control and executes counter-infiltration and counterterrorist tasks. It is largely over this sector that multiple engagements took place between the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in what is emerging to be one of the largest short-of-war aerial engagements since WW II. It is for this reason that a clinical preliminary assessment of the aerial slugfest is essential to understand the complexities of modern air combat.

It is highly likely that the PAF response would have been entrusted to units at Sargodha and Rafiqui with the planning spearheaded by the Combat Commanders School (CCS) and lead execution by the F-16 squadrons stationed there. A 10 am Time Over Target (TOT) would have been planned hoping that this was a window when a changeover of airborne Combat Air Patrols was taking place in the IAF, particularly of the air superiority fighters (Su-30MKIs, MiG-29s and Mirage-2000s. The combat zone to depict this engagement is a frontage extending from Jammu to Rajouri (approximately 90-100 km as the crow flies) and a depth of slightly over 100 kmsconsidering that the AWACS from both sides could have been operating at those distances.

The PAF package is likely to have comprised eight F-16s (four carrying laser-guided bombs [LGBs] and the rest in the air defence sweep role). This formed the northern and more potent element of the force and was most probably headed for military targets in the Naushera sector. The southern strike package comprised Mirage 5 strike aircraft and JF-17s providing top cover and were likely headed towards the 16 Corps HQ at Nagrota, a few km north of Jammu, or could have been a decoy package just as the Su-30MKI package was two days earlier when it was headed towards Bahawalpur. The older Mirage-IIIs were possibly on standby. Supporting this large force were to 2 Saab AWACS—one positioned between Sargodha and Sialkot—and the other around Islamabad with a dual tasking of supporting the Northern package and controlling air defence of the capital area.

The IAF’s air defence network has seen much transformation over the years and is now a sophisticated, well-networked and integrated system with highly motivated fighter controllers working in tandem with other combat crew (pilots and SAM operators). With all air bases on ‘High Alert’, the PAF should/would have anticipated a robust response, but reckoned that a few aircraft would get through and cause significant damage. As it turned out, this was a fair assessment.

The first engagement took place in the south (refer diagram) with two Mirage 2000s intercepting a large package of more than eight aircraft under extremely effective AWACS control in the airspace high over Jammu. Armed with beyond-visual-range (BVR) missile MICA missiles and likely to have been the upgraded Mirage 2000s, they would have locked on first to the JF-17s, duelling with them at long distances and conversing among themselves as the battle progressed ‘going hot’ and ‘going cold’, or ‘extending’ and ‘exiting’—all of it typical fighter pilot jargon across the world that indicates different stages of BVR combat. Frustrated at being unable to clear the Mirage 5s to proceed towards their intended target, the PAF formation would have turned back—not something unheard of or unprofessional—living to fight another day is a wise strategy in tough times. One deduction from this engagement if the forces painted are right is the clear superiority of the upgraded Mirage 2000 over the JF-17!


To the north was a duel between four SU-30MKIs and eight F-16s. Two of the Sukhois could have been in a swing role and towards the end of their combat endurance (a characteristic that allows it to switch between roles albeit with marginal reduction in effectiveness in the second role) while the other two would have been in full air defence configuration.


(KM: to me this indicates two Flankers were operating as tankers, and hence were low on fuel. You can see then, that these 2 Flankers held off 4x the number of F16s as two disengaged being low on fuel)


Into this melee came in four MiG-21 Bisons, scrambled from the Operational Ready Platform (ORP) on both runway ends at Srinagar and controlled by a GCI radar. Covering the almost 200 km in about 10-12 minutes at top speeds of between 950-1000 km/hr, the lead Bison with Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman would have arrived on the scene just as three F-16s appear to have barely crossed the LC, impeded in no small measure by the intense BVR manoeuvring with the Sukhois.

Positioning themselves for an attack on their intended targets within an Indian Army brigade headquarters, they would have now been cautioned by their own radars of the approaching Indian MiGs and hastily dropped their bombs within the premises of the local brigade (preliminary reports indicate LGBs) and exited. It was during their exit, that Varthaman first locked onto his target and then visually picked him up (using Eyeball-Mark 1) from his perch high above, choosing to close in using his height and speed before launching his Vympel R-73 from fairly close distances (The R-73 is a third-generation Russian close combat missile (CCM) that has been a standard fit on most recent Russian aircraft).

All this while, it is possible that Varthaman was locked on by an F-16 from depth and targeted with an AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (BVR) the moment it was either ascertained that he had crossed the LC or after shooting down the F-16 he was chasing. I would imagine that at speeds of over 15 km/min, he would have crossed at least 10-12 km inside the LC and would have broken off from the attack and turned homebound when he felt the aircraft shudder from a hit to the tail. Failing to control his crippled aircraft, Varthaman rightly chose to eject rather than stay and try to control it. Observers have seen his parachute descending for well over 12 minutes, clearly indicating that he had ejected at a fair height and beyond the range of ground-based air defence systems. Probably, he was downed by an AIM-120. However, this can only be confirmed once the IAF releases more details of the engagement.

Some key operational lessons point that the IAF’s air defence network performed well/near-flawlessly that morning. The pressure was initially put on by a combination of Mirage 2000s, Sukhois and AWACS as they forced the incoming aircraft to re-evaluate their options and resort to sub-optimal targeting solutions (it is highly likely that the F-16s were not given adequate time in a steady run that is essential for effective weapon delivery—as against the IAF Mirage-2000s at Balakot which were unopposed and would have had adequate tracking time prior to weapon delivery).

Shaping the battlefield can only create possibilities, and that is what Varthaman seized with his aggression. It is assessed that during his pursuit, his Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) would have been buzzing with warnings. He could have broken off from his attack and headed home and no one would have questioned his decision. By choosing to stay in pursuit, he did what many would not have done: bring down an F-16. It is a once in a lifetime experience of claiming a kill in an actual aerial duel in the current times.


As an experienced fighter pilot, while I would gladly take in all the chatter about the MiG-21 Bison vs F-16 bit, I would rather stress on two propositions. First, is that close combat is still alive and kicking in symmetrical air combat. Second, individual decision-making by the ‘man behind the machine’ can bridge the technology gap and remains as relevant as it was in the days of the Spitfire vs Messerschmitt duels of WW II.

The deep air strikes complemented by the nimble and integrated air defence response two days later have demonstrated the IAF’s operational effectiveness in contemporary warfare. It has also demonstrated that calibrated, proportionate and discriminate application of offensive airpower is a possible option in the ongoing covert war against cross-border terrorism. This is no time for triumphalism, but one of reflection on how the IAF can be strengthened as a critical arm of proactive deterrence and joint operations with induction of carefully selected platforms, weapons and sensors that fit into the contemporary milieu. The next time will be different!

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

Postby Karan M » 27 Mar 2019 18:21

Now take the above. The Sukhois held off 2x their number in BVR combat, and unlike the Pakistani F-16s, the Indian pilots did not launch their missiles outside of NEZ (No escape Zone) in lock on after launch mode. They maneuvered to get themselves out of the AMRAAM threat, likely deployed chaff, used their EW pods and then maneuvered to re-engage.

The Pakistani F16s, their RWRs buzzing, didnt even have the time to stay the course and guide a single LGB in. Due to terrain, etc the depth of the engagement was around 100km. A fraction of the real range of the Su-30 MKIs radar and weapons control system combination, and at the edge of its RVV-AE and R-27 missile combination, which is why the Su30 pilots wouldn't waste their missiles in turn.

And the F16s began with volleying AMRAAMs to force the Su30s on the defensive and use the opportunity to vector the remaining F16s in for a LGB strike. And instead of leaving the area, the Su30s remained, defeated the AMRAAMs using countermeasures, fired likely in their lowest Pk LOAL mode, and continued engaging the F16s.

The remaining F16s inward on a strike hightailed it, wasting their LGBs when they saw Bisons incoming and that their protective air cover was also engaged with the Sukhois.

If anything, the Sukhois proved themselves many times over.

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

Postby Austin » 27 Mar 2019 18:30

From the AVM Subramaniam writeup...

As an experienced fighter pilot, while I would gladly take in all the chatter about the MiG-21 Bison vs F-16 bit, I would rather stress on two propositions. First, is that close combat is still alive and kicking in symmetrical air combat. Second, individual decision-making by the ‘man behind the machine’ can bridge the technology gap and remains as relevant as it was in the days of the Spitfire vs Messerschmitt duels of WW II

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

Postby Austin » 27 Mar 2019 18:34

It was during their exit, that Varthaman first locked onto his target and then visually picked him up (using Eyeball-Mark 1) from his perch high above, choosing to close in using his height and speed before launching his Vympel R-73 from fairly close distances


I am now certain the R-73/HMD kill was an entire passive approach kill without alerting F-16 RWR or even having the F-16 trigger some kind of countermeasure to defeat the missile.

Since it was a visual approach kill in clear weather , The R-73/HMD simply locked on the F-16 and took it out.

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

Postby Lalmohan » 27 Mar 2019 19:09

the paf strike package knew they were being bounced by the bisons and we know they were exiting rapidly and moving into the cover zone of the f16 cap. despite saying varthaman used his mark 1 eyeball, he may have been using his kopyo to close and range or just relied on his datalink via the Su30s or iaf awacs. the aggressive move from varthaman was a kabbadi move that got his first hit, but then became his own doom

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

Postby Karan M » 27 Mar 2019 19:29

Now, we have the details at hand, lets take a look at what the "other" gentleman writes.

*In the Rajouri-Mendhar sector air skirmish a day after the Indian Air Forces’ (IAF) successful Balakot strikes, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) was able to create surprise and local superiority — technological and numerical — in a chosen battlefield. It struck in daylight when least expected, and perfectly timed to attack the changeover of IAF AWAC patrols. The outnumbered IAF pilots (12 aircraft of three vastly different types), scrambled from various bases, and showed the presence of mind not to walk into the ambush set for them, but they failed to deliver a deterrent punishment on PAF.


Cr@p. The PAF was not able to create any technological superiority. It was able to create numerical superiority, and unable to exploit it. Which only goes to show their tactics, technology or skill were lacking, or even all 3.

* Four Sukhoi-30s, the IAF’s most powerful air-superiority aircraft, were involved in the melee at beyond visual range (BVR). They were surprised by the PAF F-16s firing their American AMRAAM missiles from so far that their own radar/computer/missiles were not able to give them a “firing solution”. Translated: India’s best fighter, which constitutes half of the IAF’s combat force, was outranged and outgunned.


As AVM Subramaniam notes, 2 Su-30s were at the limits of their endurance. So in effect, 2 Su-30s took on several times their number. What Coupta does not mention or get into, is the Su-30s radar is far more powerful than the APG-68 V(9) on the F-16s and in Red Flag and several other multinational exercises, and in-house IAF exercises all with jammers, the Bars radar has held up well, in training mode itself. As far back as 2008.
https://www.livefistdefence.com/2008/11 ... -hand.html
Considering the fact that the central sensor of the Sukhoi, its radar … held up just fine in training mode …despite the barrage of electronic jamming augurs well for the Indian Air Force.

Next, the Su-30 pilots have RVV-AE missiles which match the AMRAAMs in range. Unlike the Pakistani pilots though, they didn't fire their missiles "blind" and waited for a proper, high probability of kill shot, while maneuvering to dodge the PAF AMRAAMs.

Now in which idiotic world, does this translate to the Su-30s being "outranged and outgunned". Does this fool even realize how BVR combat works? That's it about denying the enemy's weaponry any chance of a kill while maneuvering to land a decisive shot? If anything, the AF pilots played the BVR game perfectly. They out maneuvered, decoyed the AMRAAMs, & kept the air defence F-16s engaged, allowing time for Bisons to bounce the strike F-16s and preventing the air defence F-16s from shooting down the Bisons in BVR.

So, to recap, how does the WCS of the Su-30 or any fighter work? It computes when a reasonable shot, based on available weaponry, would be available. Simply put, active missiles work in 2 modes. Lock on before launch, lock on after. The latter is what fighters prefer. The radars guide the missiles in, the seeker turns on at the last moment, to give jammers minimum time to work. However, you can also launch the missile in the general direction of the target, with TWS cues from your radar & then *hope* it picks up the target. Especially if you are manouevering and can't guide the missile in.

So, both Su-30s and F-16s have missiles of similar range. Both field radars that can detect each other and track each other at similar ranges (<100km, because that's when the aircraft popped up from terrain, and the Su-30s far more powerful radar can't see through mountains). Lets even assume the Su30s didn't jam the F-16s.

So the Su-30 pilots saw the PAF pilots firing their missiles out of effective range, i.e. the missiles no-escape zone, and without proper guidace, unable to guide but the missiles remain a threat because of the fact they can lock on after launch. The Su-30s radar+ computer + missile combination would give a firing solution only when their missiles would be effective! Unlike the PAF pilots, the Su-30 pilots did not waste their missiles by salvo-ing their ARH missiles in turn.

And all AMRAAMs fired at Su-30s miss. Here are the options.
1. Clearly the F-16 radars did not guide the missiles in. So either they were jammed or were avoiding the Su-30s in turn. Conclusion> Su-30s held off a larger force of F-16s in BVR
2. AMRAAM missiles could not get a lock-on to the Su-30s. So either their initial cues were hopelessly wrong, or they were jammed/countermeasured by the Su-30s. Either way, Su-30s defeated AMRAAMs.

Overall conclusion: authors claims dont stand up to any data re:air warfare or even common sense.

* Fortunately, two of the upgraded Mirage-2000s were on patrol. These have new French missiles (MICA, or Missile d’Interception, de combat d’autodefense), which are the exact peers of the F-16/AMRAAM. They were able to lock on to some of the PAF planes, which panicked into dropping their South African origin, stand-off weapons (SOWs) in a hurry, mostly missing the targets. Nevertheless, one fell in the middle of the Nowshera brigade headquarters compound. It was a closer call than we think.


Again, a mix up of events. Su-30s and Bisons held off F-16s, so how does the presence of Mirage 2000s fighting off JF-17s and Mirage 3/5s become "fortunate" for the Su-30 story?

Conclusion: This is a perfect example of stories being "massaged" to somehow make the Mirage a savior! Why? Because the entire story is about how bad Vajpayee prevented the Mirage 2000's from being procured & hence the Su-30s are useless.

So here we have the first claim from the author in implying the Mica is equivalent to the AMRAAM. It has its pros and cons and even comes in the IIR flavor, but that's not his claim. Its range. The Mica missile is outranged by the RVV-AE which the Su-30s carry and the AMRAAM the F-16s carry. So, the Su-30s have a longer stick than the Mirage 2000. And, against the F-16, the range advantage in AMRAAM capability would remain with the F-16, with EW capability remaining the decider in whether a proper fire control solution would be found or not or AMRAAMs would be fired blind as in above case.

Second claim. "Mirage 2000's locked on to some of the PAF planes". :rotfl:

Mirage 2000's don't need to lock on for Mica. They fire from Track While Scan mode. Same as the Sukhois with their RVV-AE missiles. Lock-on (i.e. constant illumination of the target leading to a RWR alert, is only required for Super530D and AA-10 missile attacks or AIM-7 Sparrow missiles).

Second example of rubbish claims.

* Surprised, and outnumbered, the IAF scrambled six MiG-21 Bisons from Srinagar and Awantipur. Since these climbed in the shadow of the Pir Panjal range, the PAF AWAC failed to detect them. Their sudden appearance at the battlefield upset the PAF plan. This was fortuitous.


Third example of rubbish claims. The IAF didn't scramble MiG-21s because it was "surprised and outnumbered". It did so, because that's what SOP dictates. MiG-21s have time on station for anywhere from 30 mins to 45 mins. They are short radius, point defense interceptors. They are kept on "hot readiness" and not long endurance CAP for this entire point!

Six decades of the MiG-21 in service or thereabouts, and yet the author doesn't even know how the IAF uses them.

It is only because of the IAF’s good training, situational awareness, and some luck that this audacious PAF mission failed. No ground target was hit. Its larger objective of luring vastly outnumbered and outranged IAF jets into a pre-set “killing zone” was the bigger failure.


Sure, and it had nothing to do with the Su-30s and the technology that they have .. because.. because... the story here is of selling the Mirage 2000 as the IAF savior which the BJP i.e. Vajapyee scuttled... and this story emerges moment Modi alludes to the Rafale missing in the IAF force structure. If this is not bias, I don't know what is.

This serial crime dates back to the Vajpayee government. In 2001, IAF projected the need of a new fighter to replace the MiGs. Its choice was more Mirage-2000s. Dassault was willing to shift its production line to India, the IAF knew the plane and loved it. By this time, the IAF would have had 6-8 more squadrons of the upgraded, Made-in-India Mirages with new missiles. The Rafale would probably not even be needed so desperately. PAF wouldn’t have dared to carry out the 27 February raid, and if it did, it would have been mauled. But then, George Fernandes, smarting under Coffingate and Tehelka, refused to go with a “single-vendor” deal. The full process for a new acquisition was launched.


Because, of course, the Su-30s are useless. Please repeat this. Understand the story being put out.
The same Su-30s which have held up against NATO AF after AF are suddenly useless. Because... they don't fit the narrative, that only the Mirage will do.. never mind its Mica's are even further outranged by the AMRAAMs and its radar is a fraction of the Su-30's in power aperture.

He said three things at different times: Within the MoD, he then said, call fresh bids. To the media, he said he didn’t have headroom in the budget that year. And now, he told the media three weeks ago, that he put off the deal in the “national interest” since two eminent persons, Subramanian Swamy and Yashwant Sinha, had written letters pointing out problems in the deal and he had ordered an inquiry. He has since refused to talk about these letters even when chased by a reporter from The Print. The issue is too sensitive, he tells her. Chances are, his party knocked him on the head for nearly killing their Rafale story just to save his own neck. I will be pleasantly surprised if he talks about those letters again.


Note the story here. Shri Antony is hung out to dry for the "Grand Old Party" but the party is not to blame. "Chances are his party knocked him on the head".. they are blameless. And note two ex-BJP guys roped into explain why Antony sat on the Rafale deal, so as to give even Antony a face saving "out" and again, shift the blame to the NDA. This is just political rubbish. Not real analysis or an objective view by any means.

The earlier 126-aircraft MMRCA deal was dead by the time the NDA came in. The first wake-up call came early enough, with the Pathankot raid. As usual, the air forces were first off the blocks, and during aggressive patrolling, the IAF realised the PAF’s range superiority. It’s an unwritten story yet, but some MICA missiles were bought overnight, slung on Mirages which flew deliberately close enough for PAF to observe them. In the four years since, how many of our 40+ Mirages can even carry that missile? Don’t ask me for the truth because, as Jack Nicholson’s Marine Col. Nathan R. Jessep said in A Few Good Men, you can’t face the truth. Be grateful that those two on patrol on the morning of February 27 could .


Utter crap, because the Mirage 2000 deal also included 450 Mica missiles. At best, India would expedite the deal and ask for faster deliveries. Oh, the super secret missiles were slung on Mirages for Pakistan to secretly observe them? Only the author knows this? :lol:

Meanwhile, in 2016 the IAF publicly did this.
https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/air-for ... ft-1465989

New Delhi: The Tiger Squadron of the Indian Air Force (IAF) has successfully fired the recently acquired BVR (Beyond Visual Range) air-to-air MICA missile on a target from an upgraded Mirage-2000 aircraft, an official statement said on Saturday.

"The missile achieved a direct hit on a target which was much smaller than an actual aircraft and flying at low altitude. The target was destroyed on impact, validating the missile's launch envelope," the statement said.

India purchased 450 MICAs from European missile major MBDA as part of the Mirage 2000 upgrade deal from France in 2012 for $1.23 billion. The MICA will be mounted on the 36 Rafale combat jets that India is purchasing from France, the deal for which was inked on September 23.


So secret. So hush-hush.

How many of our Mirages can carry this? Dont ask Coupta. He can't tell you. Lets ask the IAF Chief instead.
https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/ne ... 665277.cms

Now before we get into a tizzy blaming HAL. Note what HAL is saying "slow availability of upgrade kits". In the past CAG reports back HAL up when it comes to things like this. So why would kits be available slow? Could it be that a certain vendor who is also supplying the Rafale to us, is inducing a certain level of "artificial scarcity" in our force structure, forcing the GOI's hand as it were. Similar to how the good Russians behaved with T-90 TOT and kits? Can't be, right.

Anyhow, back to the story.
As I promised, I am telling you about the real Rafale scandal without mentioning the Rafale deal. The Vajpayee government wouldn’t buy additional Mirages, scared of touching a single-vendor order. The MICA missile had first been sought by the IAF in 2001, the first only came in 2015 when Pathankot shocked the MoD to pull the file down from orbit. Existing Mirages then had to be upgraded. Two were upgraded by Dassault. HAL said it would do the rest. How many has it done yet? I warned you, you can’t face the truth.


LOL, so he doesn't know the deal was already struck in 2012 and Pathankot had nothing to do with any file from any orbit! The UPA had already purchased the missile. And the Mirage upgrade numbers are public. See above.

How did Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman cross the LoC? He was in visual pursuit of a PAF fighter for sure. But his controller was warning him to return. He didn’t. Because he couldn’t hear. As you’d expect in 2019, the battle zone had full radio-jamming. That’s why modern fighters have secure data links. Why didn’t that MiG have it? Ask the gallant bureaucrat of MoD who blocked the purchase for three years claiming that a defence PSU would make it. Don’t ask me his name, find out. You might learn another truth you don’t want to face.

That order has lately been placed. With Israel. Soon enough, all IAF fighters will have this secure data link. And you’d die of shame, when I tell you it is a purchase, worth a mere Rs 630 crore, less than half the price of one Rafale. We were lucky to lose just one MiG that day.


IAF has purchased 473 SDR for its operational data links. For only a fraction of its fleet. They will test & then deploy. Again, well in line with their methodical approach.

Now, heres a simpler question. How is it that if there was such heavy jamming, all of Abhinandans peers, the Su-30 guys, the Mirages could all hear what was being said, and he couldn't??

How is it that Abhinandan's last message to IAF GCI was "I have visual and locked". Oh wait, these are magical PAF jammers. They are kind enough to allow Abhinandan to talk to the IAF. They just don't want him to hear. :rotfl:

Now please look at this "author"'s track record, above and generally, and decide for yourself how credible this last story is.

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

Postby Singha » 27 Mar 2019 19:33

is this the same gupta of the VKS leading a coup fame? I am amazed you spent so much time on this article.

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

Postby Karan M » 27 Mar 2019 19:45

Yeah utter waste of time, but hey I wrote it so people don't start believing this bullsh!t as the truth. In reality, we all know why he wrote this piece of art. But in the process, enough ppl out there clearly who get taken in by crap and they need to relax about "OMGZ SKY IS FALLING".

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

Postby MeshaVishwas » 27 Mar 2019 19:50

Damn that takedown of CouptaJi was savage!
Awesome Karan M!

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

Postby suryag » 27 Mar 2019 21:27

Following article is going to UBCN and is free to be copied post permission from KaranM (author). KaranM Sir, tried to string together a story with what you wrote and edited and added fillers


An article with an agenda
by KaranM

Post the successful Balakot operation, F-16 shoot down by IAF MIg21 and subsequent safe return of Wing Co Abhinandan Varthaman, the Modi Government has definitely been on a high as far as its scores on national security are concerned. During any other time this increase in acceptance for the Govt would have been left to pass by the opposition however, with the elections round the corner, it certainly looks like those who dislike the current Govt have decided to portray the events at Balakot and thereafter in a jaundiced light by deliberately downplaying the capabilities of the Indian Air Force.

We need to see the following article by the author in this light. In my opinion, the article at best is written out of ignorance and at worst is playing to a particular political gallery, by twisting all the facts. The first part of this article debunks all the claimed, deep insights made by Gupta while the second part looks into all the half truths that appear to further an agenda, so as to water down the Modi Government's Rafale purchase by linking it to claimed missteps done by a prior NDA Govt.

Furthermore, the author's claims are fundamentally at odds with actual details of how air operations proceed and his whimsical or otherwise, claims do grave discredit to the air warriors of the IAF, who pulled off an understated, yet incredible achievement against the PAF's counter-strike attempt. Hence, they merit a reply.

Following information is gleaned across all available articles which includes articles by AVM A. Subramaniam (Retd) and also from leaked MoD accounts to the other members of the lay press, who unlike Gupta (who has neither a science degree nor a clue about aeronautics, he graduated from school of communication studies Punjab as mentioned in wiki) are far more credible. Now to the assessment of the article and what most likely happened

The author says the PAF had created superiority and surprise, while IAF AWAC crews were switching duties; we can only marvel at the oversimplification and the regurgitation of the Israel attack on Egypt modus operandi. The fact is we were expecting an attack and given the terrain there were blind spots which the PAF took advantage of and came closer which is when they were detected by the Netras and Phalcons, and likely even other Ground Based radars sited by the IAF to take care of the terrain blind spots. Going by the IAF response the PAF was neither able to create any technological superiority nor achieve any creative surprise, it just took cover of the mountains to reach as close possible to the LOC and then exploit any momentary tactical weakness on the part of the IAF, which to their credit, the IAF did not display. The PAF was however, able to create numerical superiority but was unable to exploit it which only goes to show their tactics, technology or skill were lacking, or even all three. While that is about the PAF, judging by this article, I am certain the author lacks all three.

Coming to the next gem in his article, he states that PAF F-16s creatively surprised the IAF fleet and fired AMRAAMs on the Su-30MKIs. This apparently was some sort of victory for the PAF which we should all be collectively worried about.

Basic 101 tactics in fighter school, available via 100's of accounts over the years, clearly teaches pilots to not be an Arnold in Terminator (spraying belts of ammo) but fire only when the enemy is in your definite kill zone, otherwise be prepared to waste your valuable missile rounds. The author makes a virtue of the PAF pilots lack of skill or fire discipline in having launched multiple AMRAAM rounds without merit. Now reverting back to the author's insightful assertion that the SU-30MKIs were outgunned and outranged I want to paraphrase what AVM A. Subramaniam (Retd) wrote in his detailed account, which of course he cannot openly credit as that of the IAF's but subsequent accounts all bear out how closely the actual events mimicked the details mentioned in the article.

As AVM Subramaniam (Retd) notes, out of 4 available Su-30s, two Su-30s were at the limits of their endurance. So in effect, the remaining 2 Su-30s stayed on in the fight, and took on several times their number. We are told by Gupta that the radar/weapons control/missile were outmatched. Lets look at this entire set in more detail, to understand how ludicrous his claims really are.

The first fact, is that the Su-30s radar is far more powerful than the APG-68 V(9) on the F-16s, quite easily compensating for the size difference between the two fighters in terms of radar cross section, and in Red Flag and several other multinational exercises, and in-house IAF exercises all with jammers, the Bars radar has held up well, in training mode itself. (Reference circa 2008 https://www.livefistdefence.com/2008/11 ... -hand.html). Considering the fact that the central sensor of the Sukhoi, its radar … held up just fine in training mode …despite the barrage of electronic jamming augurs well for the Indian Air Force. Note that a decade back itself, the then version of the Bars radar which was subsequently upgraded in 2012, acquitted itself well against some of the most sophisticated electronic warfare units available at Nellis AFB during the famed Red Flag exercises.

Subsequently, the Su-30s have matched up in Beyond Visual Range fights against F-16s, F-15s, Rafales, Mirage 2000s, Eurofighters, Tornado F.3 ADVs and have acquitted themselves credibly, in several cases coming out ahead. Never mind, the IAF has heavily evaluated the fighter against what it itself possesses. So here we have the foundation of the Su-30 weapons system as being well established. Clearly, the radar and its weapons control system work well.

Also, the Su-30 pilots have RVV-AE missiles which match the AMRAAMs in range. Unlike the Pakistani pilots though, they didn't fire their missiles "blind" and waited for a proper, high probability of kill shot, while maneuvering to dodge the PAF AMRAAMs.

Now in which idiotic world, does this series of events, translate to the Su-30s being "outranged and outgunned". At this point, we must pity the author's lack of knowledge when it comes to how BVR combat works.

BVR combat is quite complex, but can be summarized as being about denying the enemy's weaponry any chance of a kill while maneuvering to land a decisive shot. If anything, the IAF pilots played the BVR game perfectly. They out maneuvered, decoyed the AMRAAMs, & kept the air defence F-16s engaged, allowing time for Bisons to bounce the strike F-16s, even as they (the Su-30s) prevented the air defence F-16s from shooting down the Bisons in BVR. The Su-30s played to their strengths, their endurance for instance.

If Abhinandan's MiG-21 was lost, it was when he was firmly out of coverage of his wingmen and the Su-30 fleet, and there are high chances that even his aircraft was not lost to an AMRAAM shot but may have suffered an engine failure due to debris ingestion from the exploding F-16. A good reason for this to happen, is if his separation from the F-16 he was chasing was not substantial, even as it "ate" his R-73E missile. Do we all remember the manner in which Flt Lt Kambampati Nachiketa Rao was lost at Kargil in 1999 and how the Pakistani lay press were quick to claim him as one of their victories? Subsequently, it turned out it was the exhaust gas from his rockets firing (the MiG-27 carried rocket pods for strike), which disturbed his engine's airflow causing it to cut out.

Furthermore, active missiles like AMRAAM are hounds which go after the target/s in the vicinity once un-caged, they would not differentiate between a F-16 or a Bison, as the role of the Identification Friend or Foe in the fire control radar was over once the missile was generally launched at the Bison. But with the F-16 nearby, the chances of a friendly fire incident would be very high. Again, would the PAF pilots be so blase? Only detailed post mission analysis by the IAF can provide more information.

Now, lets get back to the Su-30 MKIs weapon control system, the WCS computes when a reasonable shot is possible based on available weaponry. Clarifying the topic further, active missiles work in 2 modes. Lock on before launch, lock on after launch. The latter is what competent fighter pilots would prefer. The on-board radars guide the missiles in via datalink, the seeker turns on at the last moment, to give jammers minimum time to work or countermeasures to be triggered. However, you can also launch the missile in the general direction of the target, with location cues from your radar & then *hope* it picks up the target. Especially if you are manouevering and can't guide the missile in. This is what the PAF pilots likely did. Either that, or their fire control radar/datalink combination just couldn't guide the missiles in towards the IAF Sukhois.

Now piecing together the sequence of events. The Su-30 pilots learnt that the PAF pilots were firing their missiles at them, were likely out of effective range , i.e. the missiles no-escape zone, and without proper guidance, unable to guide but the missiles remained a threat because of the fact they can lock on after launch. They too could have retaliated. The Su-30s radar+ computer + missile combination would give an effective firing solution only when their missiles would be effective or the pilots could choose to launch outside optimal parameters! Unlike the PAF pilots, the Su-30 pilots did not waste their missiles by salvo-ing their ARH missiles in turn as the F-16 pilots did. Instead, they focused on defeating the PAF missile threat and constantly looking for an optimal firing solution on the F-16s in turn, which was the correct thing to do. They kept aware of the tactical situation via either via own radar, own data links or warned by IAF controllers.

The IAF press release notes that "the Su-30s took correct tactical measures to defeat the AMRAAM threat". A terse, and succinct way of explaining what happened without getting bogged down in classified details. We also know what happened thereafter, as what AVM Subramaniam notes. None of the LGB strikes by the strike F-16s worked. They hightailed it back, without guiding their munitions in. Remember, unlike the movies, these fancy LGBs, etc require a steady platform, and careful designation by either onboard or off board laser guidance pods. Yet, these careful launch parameters were not met.

Why did that happen if not for the fact, that with Bisons headed their way, the strike F-16s just had to break off. Their allocated protectors, the air defence F-16s remained engaged with the Su-30s who remained in the fight. The Su-30s had their radars active, were still in the game and the air defence F-16 pilots knew the clear and potent danger the Sukhoi's represented.

Heavy fighters like the Su-30 are apex predators, and with their large radar, missile, range combination can afford to wait for their chance, a chance the F-16 pilots decided not to risk and left the area as fast as they could, once the strike F-16s returned from the incursion.

We know that all AMRAAMs fired at Su-30s missed which leaves us with the following conclusions:

1. The F-16 radars could not guide the missiles after launch, because they were either jammed or the fighters were maneuvering to avoid the Su-30 radars. In conclusion, Su-30s held off a larger force of F-16s in BVR mode.
2. AMRAAM missiles could not get a lock-on to the Su-30s. So either their initial cues were hopelessly wrong (see the above point), or they were jammed/defeated by Su-30 countermeasures/maneuvering. Either way, the Su-30s defeated the AMRAAMs.

In short, let alone being outranged and outgunned. The Su-30s held off a much larger number of F-16s and defeated their prized silver bullets, the AMRAAMs. Even as of this moment, suffice to say, there would be much angst in the PAF about how & why their tactics failed, how a small force of Su-30s held off their F-16s, how their carefully husbanded stocks of AMRAAMs didn't work the way they were meant to, and why the F-16s could not land any decisive win against the Su-30s. The DG (ISPR)'s crowing is for the public consumption of their "awaam" who see the PAF as some mythical crusaders against the infidel. Reality though bites, and it would be biting the PAF AHQ planners as they consider the bleak outcome of their mass deployment of AMRAAMs against what was thought to be an unprepared and outnumbered foe.

They will also be keenly aware that the Astra, a missile which is superior to the RVV-AE in specifications set by the IAF, and which it has reportedly met, is on the verge of induction in the Su-30 MKI fleet. Unlike the Pakistanis with their US supplied C-5 model AMRAAMs, India can fine tune and program its Astra missiles to the latest ECCM standards and continue to develop it further.

Next, the author also claims that the surprised and outnumbered IAF scrambled 6 MiG21s from Srinagar and Awantipur. What a phrase. "Surprised and outnumbered", as if the IAF were suddenly caught off guard and panicked. The IAF didn't scramble MiG-21s because it was "surprised and outnumbered". It did so, because that's what the Standard Operating Procedure(SOP) dictates when any OpFor has to be countered. The number of assets surged into the fight depend on the OpFor. MiG-21s have time on station for anywhere from 30 mins to 45 mins. They are short radius, point defense interceptors. They are kept on "hot readiness" and not long endurance CAP. Six decades of the MiG-21 in service or thereabouts, and yet the celebrated reporter doesn't even know how the IAF uses them.

Then, we then have the author implying the Mica is equivalent to the AMRAAM. And this was the magic behind the Mirages becoming superior or equivalent to the F-16s. Sure, the Mica has its pros and cons and even comes in the IIR (Imaging Infra red) flavor allowing for some real sneaky tactics, but that's not his claim. His claim is about range. A Mica hit a non maneuvering target in Taiwanese AF exercises several years back at around 60km. It's well recognized, that the Mica missile is outranged by the RVV-AE which the Su-30s carry and the AMRAAM the F-16s carry in terms of raw range. The longer range usually translates into longer engagement ranges overall, considering rough parity in terms of other aspects such as seeker performance (which is usually classified but all 3 countries US, France, Russia field robust electronics teams).

So, bottom line, the Su-30s have a longer stick than the Mirage 2000. When it comes to Mirage against the F-16, the range advantage in AMRAAM capability would remain with the F-16, with EW capability remaining the decider in whether a proper fire control solution would be found or not or AMRAAMs would be fired blind as in the above case. The Mica is certainly capable, but unlike what the author claims, it is not some magic answer which would scare the PAF F-16s away. Make them wary, certainly. But much the same as the mix of the missiles on the Su-30.

The final ludicrous claim is "Mirage 2000's locked on to some of the PAF planes". Mirage 2000's don't need to lock on for Mica. They fire from Track While Scan mode. Same as the Sukhois with their RVV-AE missiles. Lock-on (i.e. constant illumination of the target leading to a RWR alert, is only required for Super530D and AA-10 missile attacks or AIM-7 Sparrow missiles). In reality, the moment, the PAF pilots got an indication on their RWR that a Mirage 2000 or a Su-30 radar had "repeatedly swept" them, they would have been wary (and engaging countermeasures as necessary), knowing that it could well be sufficient for a missile attack which they'd keep an eye out for. The point though which the AVM makes of the Mirages superiority vis a vis the JF-17 needs to be understood. Its that despite engaging countermeasures, the JF-17/Mirage fleet still felt at threat. They continued to get "painted" by radar. Mark that as a plus for the superb equipment on the upgraded Mirages.

Overall conclusion: authors claims don't stand up to any data re: air warfare or even common sense.

Debunking the political overtones

Lets now explore a possible, reason behind this hare brained article. If the author is engaged in so much speculation, we might as well. The author's thesis in this case is that had the Vajpayee Govt agreed for Mirage2000 upgrade in 2001 this situation wouldn't have arisen. The technical argument towards this agenda has anyways been debunked above, now lets check the timing. This article curiously appears after Modi says that had the congress not taken 10 long years to decide on MMRCA and had we had Rafale this situation wouldn't have happened and the IAF continues to openly support the Rafale acquisition. So in effect, the author tries to pin the blame for the situation on a NDA predecessor, i.e. Shri Vajpayee and not on the lame and inept UPA Govt that ruled for 10 long years (it decided on the Rafale and in 2014 publicly stated that they didn't have the money to buy it). The whole thesis has nothing to do with the Su-30s and the technology that we have because the story here is of selling the Mirage 2000 as the IAF savior which the BJP i.e. Vajapyee scuttled and this story emerges, the moment Modi alludes to the Rafale missing in the IAF force structure. The author is entitled to his views, as we are to our view on him mixing fact and fiction to push a flawed thesis!

The same Su-30s which held up against one NATO AF after another, are suddenly useless because they don't fit the narrative, that only the Mirage will do, never mind its Mica's are even further outranged by the AMRAAMs and its radar is a fraction of the Su-30's in power aperture and in IAF exercises against the French AF, the French praised the performance of the Su-30 MKI, plus the serious and calm demeanour of the IAF pilots. Net, each aircraft has its pros and cons, and the Mirage is still a very dangerous and potent aircraft. It has arguably the most versatile mix of weaponry in the fleet matched only by the Su-30 MKI. Yet, to push a story, its just lousy behavior to decry the capabilities of one platform whilst selectively playing up another. IAF deterrence is built on a sum of all its parts.

To appear balanced the author cruelly strings AK Anthony out to dry. His personal mistakes apart, he was part of a system and why didn't the system correct the claimed NDA mistake and purchase the Mirage 2000-V post haste, by cancelling the MMRCA contest? No answer there either.

Weirdly, the author also makes an assertion that the current Govt realizing the danger went ahead and bought a few MICA missiles (like Sivakasi Diwali rockets are available in the market) and slung them onto the Mirage2000 and also foolishly flew close to the border for Pakistan to flaunt their new "biceps". Nothing can be farther from the truth in this case. 450 MICAs were bought as part of the Mirage2000 deal by the UPA itself to upgrade it to Mirage2000I standards in 2012, weren't bought overnight and there is no rocket science here that the 2000I upgrade has been slow and has been progressing with HAL as the lead partner. There was also a press release in 2016 where IAF had mentioned that they had tested this missile from the upgraded Mirage2000, and it hardly undertook any unprofessional stunt of flying close to the border with Mica's under slung hoping for a PAF F-16 to come by with binoculars, detect it had Micas and then fly back to report this earth shattering information to PAF AHQ.

Coming to how many Mirage2000s were upgraded, we are told this too is secret. The author knows this, but he is reluctant to tell us. Well, we know from news reports that 6 in number had been upgraded by 2019, as versus 21 planned, apart from the ones delivered by France itself. HAL blames the tardy receipt of upgrade kits from France. Leaving aside the finger pointing, the fact remains this is widely known news. Again, the authors, wink-nod-nudge claim of possessing some secret awareness of the state of the Mirage upgrade is anything but factual.

That apart the author willfully forgets that the MICA missiles had been ordered in 2012 during the UPA regime and delivered in 2015. So, again, where is the secrecy here?

Now coming to the towering insight that the author provides about jamming, that is Wing Co Varthaman couldn't hear what the controller told him because of jamming. According to available accounts, Wing Co Varthaman's last message to IAF GCI was "I have visual and locked".

Oh wait, these are magical PAF jammers. They are kind enough to allow Wing Co Varthaman to talk to the IAF. They just don't want him to hear anything in turn. And this only happens once he crosses the LOC. Till then, the radios work fine, vectoring him right to the ingressing PAF strike package.

This implausibly whimsical advanced OpFor technology allows the IAF fighter pilot to convey his points lucidly to ground control, but blocks him from hearing anything in turn. Further, the radio jamming only comes into play once the Bisons hunt of the F-16 begins. One would have otherwise thought that the entire Bison package would be jammed, but wait, they could hear ground control fine and took evasive measures first, because unlike the Wing Co. they were not (yet) engaged in a fight with the F-16s. However, the question remains, how could they hear anything if truly, the PAF was so effective in jamming all the Indian combatants in play?

Further, lets assume for arguments sake, the jamming indeed existed and was intermittent. As implausible as the above sequence of events was, strange things can happen in conflict, and let's take the events as having occurred.

The question then is was the Wing Co's aircraft lost because he crossed the LOC?

Would the lack of ground control radio input, for even a fraction of a period, suddenly turn WingCo Varthaman into a victim? Consider this, he is trained, he knows he is up against F-16s (he is about to shoot one down), there is every chance the F-16s wingman would try to target him & his RWR would surely be buzzing with the tone of the F-16s APG-68 V(9). So he would have surely anticipated an AMRAAM or even AIM-9 shot & knew the terrific threat he was under, even as he, with single-minded and ruthless determination, went in for his kill. He knew the risks, and as a trained and superbly calm professional, judged them, filed them in his brain and went for that F-16. And got it.

As mentioned before he lost his aircraft due to debris from shooting down from the F-16. If not that, and an AMRAAM strike was to blame, that missile would have been fired at him, irrespective of whether he was within or across the LOC, as long as he was a threat to the other F-16.

These are IAF pilots we are talking about. Ground Control input offers them cues, additional situational awareness above and beyond their eyeball Mk1 and their onboard radar. It does not turn them into zombies who must and should need this input to make any and every decision.

The IAF indeed plans to field an Operational Data Link, piggybacking on what are called as Software Defined Radios, but this is a work in progress, quite clearly stalled not merely by a perfidious Babu, but as much as by interoperability concerns and the challenge of the task ahead. Even so, 470 odd radios are being procured, half for ground stations, half for fighters in the first phase. There is no guarantee these sets will be fitted to the ageing MiG-21 Bisons which are due to be phased out in the next few years and replaced by the indigenous and potent LCA Tejas, which has achieved FOC. Even after the encrypted SDRs are inducted, it would take some time for a data link to be operational.

Lastly, while it is fashionable to decry the "babu" as having stalled the procurement, could it be presumable that the IAF too wanted a local alternative first and foremost to ease interoperability and security concerns and went for the import only when it was clear a local option would not be available in time. The Navy as we speak is deploying Indian SDRs for their ships. They are not as constrained by space and volume as the IAF fighter deployable ones are, and hence were developed first.

So, unfortunately, this claim about radio deployment, data links, the loss of WingCo Abhinandan because he crossed the LOC and a dastardly villain preventing the IAF from acquiring capabilities it so desperately needs, seems to have rather large holes in it. It turns what would have been an otherwise high risk but methodical procurement decision into a very simplistic one with a "villain", one the audience can shake their fists at, without even acknowledging that these tough trade offs are present every time we buy from abroad and have to decide how much control we cede in favor of immediate operational capability.

But then again, nothing in this entire article makes the least amount of sense. And it clearly wasn't meant to. It was just to push an obvious agenda that the IAF is weak, under-equipped, and hence ends up perpetuating more myths.

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

Postby nachiket » 27 Mar 2019 23:24

Karan, that takedown of Coupta was terrific. All the speculation and lies were nailed. Kudos. Now only if it could be published somewhere.

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

Postby Karan M » 27 Mar 2019 23:54

SuryaG sir edited the post above. Sir, thanks for summarizing the overall story. I don't need attribution to be honest. Just spread it as you see fit.

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

Postby ramana » 28 Mar 2019 00:43

Copy the link and put on Titter as refutation of The Print Article by Shekar Gupta

it can be retweeted by all members and will get more visiblity.

In fact I am going to do that and post the Tweet here.

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

Postby ramana » 28 Mar 2019 00:49

Here you go:

https://twitter.com/ramana_brf/status/1 ... 00736?s=19

Rebuttal of Shekhar Gupta's "What the IAF-PAF dogfight reveals" article in Print.
https://t.co/aKMknuNl8p
Please RT

@rhinohistorian


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