New Delhi: The Indian military Thursday produced hard evidence to prove that Pakistan had used F-16 fighter jets to target four military installations in Jammu and Kashmir, decimating Islamabad’s claim that the US-origin aircraft was not used.
India also once again asserted that the MiG-21, a vintage fighter first introduced in 1963, was able to shoot down a modern F-16 of the Pakistan Air Force, making it the first such hit in the history of military warfare.
Addressing a joint press conference of the three armed forces on the South Block lawns outside the Ministry of Defence, IAF officials showed parts of an ‘AIM-120’ Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) that was fired by Pakistani fighter jets.
While Pakistan had claimed that the JF-17, jointly manufactured with China, was used in the air strikes, the fact is that the AIM-120, manufactured by US firm Raytheon, cannot be fired from that aircraft.
“There is enough evidence to show that F-16s were used in this mission through their electronic signatures. Parts of AMRAAM air-to-air missile, which is carried only on the F-16s, was recovered east of Rajouri within Indian territory,” Air Vice Marshal R.G.K. Kapoor told reporters.
“The fact remains that one F-16 of the Pakistan Air Force was shot down.”
Answering the media’s questions, Kapoor also said the Pakistan media had shown parts of the engines and drop tanks that didn’t belong to India’s downed MiG-21, which confirmed that the F-16 was shot.
What Pakistan had claimed
The director-general of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Major General Asif Ghafoor, had said F-16s were not used in the entire operation, and no Pakistani fighter jet had been hit.
Pakistan had also released pictures of the debris of the MiG-21 Bison it had shot down to support its claim that the Pakistan Air Force had got the better of the Indian Air Force.
But it turns out that in its rush to win the information battle, the ISPR also released an image of the debris from its own F-16 fighter jet.