SOURCE: NITIN GUPTA / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
Su-30s were the Bigfish which Pakistani Airforce wanted to kill to win a propaganda war and establish superiority myth over Indian air force but instead lost an F-16 in the process to an inferior Mig-21 in the latest dogfight between two nuclear-armed neighbors which came nearly after 40 years from their last war. Upgraded Mig-21 known as ” Bis” snuck up and was positioned in a way by the ground operators that F-16 while busy trying to kill a Su-30 that it completely forgot about the small fish which chased one F-16 with an R-73 missile and went for the kill.
Su-30s are not only front line fighter jets of the Indian air force but also the poster child of the IAF and knocking one down will not only dent the morals of the rivals but also come as great propaganda for their own personals who were wary of the jet, this is the reason that F-16 pilots in recent dogfight largely focused on a Su-30 which was nearly 60km away from the pack of F-16s who tried for a kill using multiple rounds of long-range air to air missile.
F-16 while flying nearly at 40000 feet used it’s altitude to its advantage and fired multiple rounds of AIM-120C-5 at lone Su-30 guarding a military installation at 15-16000 feet. AIM-120C-5, when fired from that altitude, will get the maximum range extracted from its missile and this is one of the reasons that low flying Su-30s were not able to get missile firing clearance from their onboard cueing systems for its R-77 missile which too has a range similar to AIM-120C-5 but won’t have reached F-16s even if fired manually, since it carried lower range at that altitude.
F-16 pilots were flying at 40000 feet for a reason and knew that in a WVR engagement where Angle of Attack is severally limited to F-16 could have handed Su-30s an easy win over them and Su-30 is also known for phenomenal maneuverability below 20000 feet and should have used its maximum sustained turn rate of 22 degrees a second to not only dodge AIM-120C-5 missiles fired at it but also used its onboard jammers of Israeli origin to its full advantage to make this air to air missiles almost like a Un-guided Rockets.
Superior Pilot training and tactics developed by Indian pilots who are regularly engaged with Western fighter types world over in major air exercises came handy to outmaneuver such a modern air to air missile that many Su-30 operators are already approaching Indian Airforce through Russian government to learn and study tactics used by IAF that day against AIM-120C-5 missiles. IAF is cautious since military operations are still ongoing but might brief few allies who also operates Su-30s in coming months until then pilots flying Su-30 that day might thank his stars and superior skills that he knew his aircraft better than the F-16 pilot who wasted his missiles.
F-16 vs Su-30 engagement that day might have dented confidence of PAF F-16 pilots further that day since even when Su-30 was at a disadvantage they couldn’t make a kill. IAF has trained its Su-30 pilots like that of a midfielder who passes the ball at the right time to a striker who puts the ball in the net, IAF knows that rivals will always focus on Su-30 in a dogfight scenario that they will ignore smaller players in the field, Mirage-2000 and Mig-21 was flying at even closer range but PAF F-16 pilots still focused on Su-30 which created distraction good enough for Mig-21Bis to sneak in and kill an F-16 at close range .
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