Follow Us:

‘Irrefutable evidence’ Wg Cdr Abhinandan shot down Pakistan F-16: IAF

Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor said that electronic signature and radio transcripts conclusively identify one of the two aircraft downed during the aerial engagement as an F-16.

SNS | New Delhi |

The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Monday said that there is “irrefutable evidence” that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman downed a Pakistani F-16 with his MiG 21 Bison aircraft in a dogfight on 27 February.

At a press conference, Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor said that electronic signature and radio transcripts conclusively identify one of the two aircraft downed during the aerial engagement as an F-16.

“The IAF has irrefutable evidence of not only the fact that the F-16 was used by Pakistan Air Force on 27 February 2019 but also that IAF MIG 21 Bison shot down the F-16,” the IAF said in the statement.

Rejecting any doubt over the downing of the PAF F-16, AVM Kapoor also displayed AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) radar images proving that the Pakistani aircraft was indeed shot down by Wg Cdr Abhinandan before his own aircraft went down.

Explaining the images, AVM Kapoor said that while one image showed the track of an F-16 just before the engagement with Wg Cdr Abhinandan’s aircraft, the signature disappeared after the dogfight indicating that the F-16 had been shot down.

The F-16 fell in Sabzkot area of PoK.

“We have more credible evidence that is clearly indicative of fact that Pakistan has lost one F-16. However due to security and confidentiality concerns we are restricting the information being shared in the public domain,” AVM Kapoor said.

The IAF also pointed at the initial statements issued by Pakistan’s Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (DG-ISPR) following the 27 February incident.

“Certain official statements made by Pakistan’s DG-ISPR also corroborate IAF stand. In his initial statement on 27 February, DG-ISPR categorically said ‘3 pilots, one in custody and two in the area’,” AVM Kapoor told the media.

“DG-ISPR also stated on camera in a press conference that they had two pilots: 1 in custody and other admitted to hospital. The same was also corroborated by statement of Pakistani Prime Minister (Imran Khan). All this proves that a total of two aircraft had gone down that day in the same area,” he said.

Through radar images, the IAF also showed how the PAF aircraft had attempted to target Indian military installations in Jammu-Kashmir.

AVM Kapoor said that PAF had sent its JF-17s to the northern side above Rajouri and two columns of F-16s over Jhangar and Nowshera.

He said that PAF aircraft fired multiple AMRAAM missiles which were “defeated by use of countermeasures and tactical manoeuvres”.

The IAF press conference came three days after a US media report raised questions on India’s claim that it had shot down a Pakistani F-16 with a MiG-21 Bison fighter aircraft.

According to Foreign Policy, a prominent American magazine, a US count of the F-16 jets with Pakistan has found that none of them is “missing” and all the fighter planes were “present and accounted for”.

The two unnamed officials, said to have direct knowledge of the situation, told the publication that US personnel recently counted Islamabad’s F-16s and found none missing.

But the US Department of Defence said that it was “not aware of any investigation like the one doing the rounds” as stated in the media report.