Pakistan social media users circulate misleading image from Mig-21, F-16 aerial engagement

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 20 March 2019, 09:38 AM
Pakistan's F-16 warplane which was shot down by India's MiG-21 Bison on Wednesday. (File photo)
Pakistan's F-16 warplane which was shot down by India's MiG-21 Bison on Wednesday. (File photo)

There have been fierce debates on social media regarding the downing of a Pakistani F-16 by Indian Air Force’s MiG-21 Bison fighter, flown by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman on February 27. Pakistan has always denied that its F-16 was a part of the intense aerial engagement, while India claimed to shoot down a F-16 warplane of Pakistan, the Indian Air Force (IAF) lost a MiG-21 Bison during the fierce engagement between the air forces of the two countries along the Line of Control (LoC). The Indian Air Force had stated that an R-73 missile — which is a short-range infra-red guided weapon supplied by Russia — had shot down the Pakistani F-16.

On Monday, several Pakistani users took to Twitter and Facebook to circulated an image showing the wreckage of two missiles. The wreckage was described as being two R-73 missiles carried by the MiG-21 flown by Varthaman, which crashed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. However, several Indian social media users and defence experts pointed out these discrepancies about the image being circulated. 

Several Pakistani social media handles claimed that as the Indian Air Force MiG-21s could carry only two missiles, the image proved Varthaman could not have shot down an F-16.

However, a closer inspection of the image revealed that the purported wreckage shows two different weapons, with distinct physical features. The weapon in the background resembles an R-73 missile, with its characteristic control fins near the seeker and above the exhaust. The missile in the foreground appears to have larger dimensions and has larger control fins in the mid-body section, which looks similar to the Russian-origin R-77 medium-range radar-guided missile. The R-73 missile, which has a length of about 2.9m, has a range of around 30km, while the R-77 is longer at 3.6 m and has a range of over 80 km, as per a report in The Week.

First Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2019 09:38 AM
Post Comment (+)