Pentagon Denies Media Report On F-16 Count; Says ‘Not Aware Of Any Such Investigation’
The Logical Indian Crew India
April 8th, 2019 / 1:20 PM
Image Credit: One India
A day after US-based news publication Foreign Policy published a report on April 4 claiming US defence personnel recently counted Pakistan F-16 aircrafts and found none missing, the Pentagon (United States Department of Defence) issued a statement saying it was ‘not aware’ of any such investigation conducted to determine if Pakistan had lost an F-16 aircraft during a dogfight with Indian fighter jets on February 27.
The report by Foreign Policy magazine attributed the investigation to two unidentified senior US defence officials and told that it was conducted at the invitation of Pakistan. It stated that the investigation refutes the account of Indian Air Force officials who said that Pakistan’s F-16 was shot down by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman before his own plane was downed by a Pakistani missile.
However, now, the US defence department spokesperson stated that they “weren’t aware of any investigation like that.” Distancing itself from the news report, the state department while talking to Hindustan Times said that, “As a matter of policy, the Department does not publicly comment on details of government-to-government agreements on end-use monitoring of US-origin defence articles.” Furthermore, they said that the United States government has suspended any security assistance to Pakistan since January 2018.
Indian Air Force’s stand
The Indian Air Force officials also repudiated the claims made by American magazine ‘Foreign Policy’ and said that IAF’s MiG 21 Bison shot down Pakistan’s F-16 in Nowshera sector during February 27 dogfight. According to DNA India, IAF officials said that they also have conclusive “circumstantial evidence” which includes wireless intercepts, signals and graphic captures from airborne warning and control system (AWACS) and electronic signatures to prove that F-16 was shot down in the dogfight.
Air Vice Marshal RGV Kapoor told that the Indian Forces confirmed sighting ejections at two different places on February 27 and both of the sightings were at places separated by 8-10 km. One was IAF’s MiG 21 Bison and the other one was a PAF aircraft. And the electronic signatures accumulated by India revealed that the PAF aircraft was F-16.
According to IAF, Pakistan Air Force attempted ‘riposte’ on February 27, that involved a large force of PAF including F-16s, JF 17s, and Mirage III/V which got identified by IAF radars and were intercepted by Su30-MKI, Mirage 2000 and MiG 21 Bison fighters of Indian Air Force. In the dogfight, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who was flying MiG 21 shot PAF’s F-16. Also, the electronic signals from F-16 ended abruptly after getting hit by MiG 21 affirming that F-16 got crashed, IAF says. On February 28, IAF even presented pieces of AMRAAM (advanced medium-range air-to-air missile) fired by PAF’s F-16 as evidence, as no other PAF aircraft can fire these missiles, reports DNA India.
Written by : Jasmine Kaur (Intern)
Edited by : Shraddha Goled