Air Chief Dhanoa: “Pakistan Has Lost F-16 Aircraft In Combat With India”

Shailesh Kumar, National Defence
New Delhi, 04 March 2019

Indian Air Force Chief, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa says that it is for sure Pakistan has lost one F-16 fighter jet in combat with IAF jet. He says if Pakistan has an end user agreement with US that warrants it NOT to use aircraft / AMRAAM in offensive use then they have violated the law. He confirmed that the pieces of AMRAAM Missile have been found in Indian Territory. Two days before Air Marshal RGK Kapoor also presented the evidences of AMRAAM missile and F-16 jet being used against India. 

“I don’t know what is the end user agreement between the America and Pakistan. If the end user agreement was that they will not use it for offensive purposes, I think they have viaolated that end user agreement because we have got pieces of AMRAAM missile in our territory, which we have displayed”.

“Obviously, they have lost F-16 aircraft in the combat so obviously they have been using the aircraft against us”, ACM Dhanoa added.  He was addressing the media in Sulur, Tamil Nadu on the sidelines of President Colours presentation ceremony being accorded to 5 Base Repair Depot In Sulur. 

Wing Commander Abhinandan flying MiG-21 Bison, a vintage aircrafy of 1960s has shot down Pakistan’s F-16 in mid air close combat but had to eject form his broken fighter and captured by Pakistan Army. Pakistan released him after 55 hours of captivity. Indians hailed him as National Hero and celebrated across India.   

On question of why did MiG-21 Bison, an old aircraft was used against modern F-16, Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa said, “The Mig-21 Bison is a capable aircraft, it has been upgraded, it has better radar, air-to air missiles and better weapons system”.

Wg Cdr Abinandan on a CAP mission flying MiG-21 Bison at 15000 feet intercepted Pakistan Air Force’s F-16 D flying at a height of 8000 feet in Nowshera sector. According to sources, within 86 seconds of eyeball to eyeball mid air dogfight, Wing Commander Abhinandan managed to ‘lock’ at 60 degree on to enemy aircraft and fired his R-73 air to air missile. But soon before another F-16 sandwitched his MiG-21 Bison. A missile hit his aircraft and Wg Cdr Abhinandan had to eject and drifted to enemy territory with the high speed blowing winds.     

Pakistan’s F-16 pilot also ejected but fell on ground in semi consious state. According to reports, Pakistanis thought him as Indian pilot and beaten him to death as his uniform was torn beyond recognition. Pakistan however has denied to accept the death of one of it’s F-16 D fighter pilot. Pakistan has been condemned in social media for not accepting the martyrdom if it’s fighter pilot, who has been identified as Wg Cdr Shahzaz Ud Din of No 19 Squadron. There have been multiple reports and social media flooded with reports that Pakistan’s ill fated fighter pilot Shahzaz Ud Din is the son of  Air Marshal Waseem Ud Din, who is the Deputy Chief of Air Staff (Operations) of Pakistan Air Force. The incident put Pakistan in poor light as Experts say that Pakistan hiding the facts to protect itself from wrath of United States of America for misusing the aircraft.

Pakistan Army, in fact, believed the initial rumours that the other pilot is also an Indian and had made declaration to the media. Few hours later, they realized the blunder. Shahzad died at the Combined Military Hospital.

America has sought more information on the potential misuse of the F-16 D, a block 52 Jet. Countries sign a non disclosure agreement with US under any Foreign Military Sales contract.

Air Chief Dhanoa responded on question that Pakistan has not accepted air strikes hitting Jaish Camp and even Pakistan media denying existence of damage to any camp or casualty air chief said if the strikes were merely in jungle, why would India’s foreign secretary make a statement.  He, however, decline to comment on the number of terrorists killed in the operation.  

“The target has been clearly amplified by FS in his statement. If we plan to hit the target, we hit the target, otherwise why would he (Pak PM) have responded, if we dropped bombs in the jungles why would he respond”.

“We hit our target. The air force doesn’t calculate casualty numbers, the government does that. IAF is not in a postilion to clarify the number of casualties. The government will clarify that. We don’t count human casualties, we count what targets we have hit or not”.

Wing commander Abhinandan Varthaman has suffered Rib injuried because of the ejection and currently undergoing medical treatment and check ups at Delhi’s R&R Hospital. Air Chief said that he would be in the fighter cockpit only when he will be completely fit to fly. 

“Whether Wing Commander Abhinandan flies or not depends on his medical fitness. That’s why post ejection, he has undergone medical check. Whatever treatment required, will be given. Once we get his medical fitness, he will get into fighter cockpit”.

“One is a planned operation in which you plan & carry out. But when an adversary does a strike on you, every available aircraft goes in, irrespective of which aircraft it is.  All aircraft are capable of fighting the enemy”, CAS ACM Dhanoa said.

Air Marshal Dhanoa hinted that the air operations in the current skirmishes have not stopped and are on going.

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