Indian Air Force (IAF) came out with evidence to rebut the claim that no Pakistani F-16 jet having been shot down in the dog fight which took place on the morning of 27 February 2019, after a United States based magazine Foreign Policy quoted an unnamed US defence official as saying that Pakistan had invited the US to “physically count its F-16 planes” after the incident as part of an end-user agreement and after the process “all aircraft were present and accounted for.”
"During the aerial engagement on 27 February a Mig-21 Bison shot down a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) jet and electronic signatures confirm it as an F-16," the IAF said on Friday.
IAF in a clarification shared several proofs claiming that the images from AWACS showed the call sign of an aircraft identified as that of an F-16 facing off the Mig-21 piloted by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman disappearing in a time frame of 8-10 seconds.
Another official said in the general area where Wing Commander Varthaman was engaged in aerial combat, only F-16s were present. Of the 24 PAF aircraft that came in, 11 were identified as F-16s based on their electronic signature, reports The Hindu.
In addition to electronic signatures, radio transmissions of their ground forces intercepted by the Indian Army also confirm that the PAF jet shot was an F-16. Pakistan army radio transmission recorded by the Indian Army at LoC said it thrice, "2 parinde (fighter jets) down.".
Indian side has also highlighted the sighting of ejections at two different places on that day. The two sightings were at places separated by at least 8-10 km.
It must be noted here that F-16 is a mainstream and active selling fighter jet product from US, and the news of it having been shot down by a vintage Mig-21 aircraft has brought a lot of backlash on its capabilities world over. In this background, the new claims and counter-claims have renewed the debate over post Pulwama surgical strikes.
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