Indian Air Force (IAF) undoubtedly fought one of the toughest air engagements on 27th February, 2019 after Independence. The fog of battle is now little bit clear and we have some authentic data and reports to understand the engagement. Take a look at the following satellite image to understand the geographical locations, attack axis along with force packages.
Contrary to what is being thought about, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) didn’t cross the Line of Control (LoC) on that fateful day. North and South Axes of PAF were used as decoys. It was the Central Axis which was used as the prime attack thrust. F – 16s were using 100 lbs LGBs, MIRAGE III/IV were using H2/H4 SOW while JF – 17 Thunder came along with REKs.
It is now believed that the air engagement had lasted just for around half an hour. By that time, IAF’s AWACS had reached the station guiding 2 MiG – 29 and SU – 30 MKIs. The loss of one F – 16 made PAF gone turtle.
Sukhoi survived AMRAAM Missile ambush just because of the superior training and tactics deployed by the Wing Commander.
JF – 17 Thunder were deployed on the north zone. Their main task was to not let MIRAGE – 2000 go southward. Their radar didn’t work well, but still they succeeded in this endeavour. However, fearing MIRAGE – 2000, JF – 17 had released payload way off the target.
Two pair of MiG – Bison were scrambled to North and South West. It may be noted that Wing Commander Abhinandan headed towards South West.
Two F – 16s were made formations around the Nowshera. The plan was to target Sukhoi – 30 MKI. One was at supersonic speed at 40000 ft while other was at lower altitude – around 10, 000 ft. Sukhoi was immediately warned by GC and it immediately cranked so that forward travel can be significantly reduced. This tactics helped it to avoid AMRAAM missile. PAF is still wondering how they couldn’t kill Sukhoi with better positioning and perfect communication jamming deployed by two F – 16s. However, publicly they claim that one Sukhoi – 30MKI was brought down without giving any proof, whatsoever that might be. It is also now clear that five AMRAAM Missiles were fired and none of them hit the target – Su – 30MKI.
In the meantime, Abhinandan and his team had picked up F – 16 around Nowshera. His MiG – Bison was picked up. He was immediately warned. But, communication jamming may not have allowed him to listen to the warning. In any case, he proceeded and manually locked F – 16 on his radar. He fired R – 73 Missile which hit the target.
Pakistan has not admitted that one F – 16 was brought down on 27th February. However, people have clearly seen three parachutes getting down – one being that of Abhinandan.
It may be noted here that Chute – 09 of F – 16 has Orange, Green and White Colour. That was exactly what was reported by locales.
PAF attacked with 24 fighter jets. There was no AWACS at the time of that surprise attack. And, they were replied by only 8 Indian fighters. There is absolutely no doubt that outnumbered Indian Air fighters did wonderful job on 27th February.