Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Pakistan Air Force: The Only Air Force That Shot Down Multiple Russian Fighter Pilots in Combat Since WWII

As the United States and other NATO members hesitate in imposing No-Fly zone over Ukraine for fear of direct confrontation with Russia, here's a piece of history from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s: The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has the distinction of being the only air force that has engaged and shot down multiple Russian fighter pilots in combat since WWII.  The most prominent among those shot down by PAF was Colonel Alexander Rutskoy who ejected over Pakistani soil and was captured by Pakistan. After his release, Rutskoy was decorated as a hero of the Soviet Union and went onto become vice president of Russia under Boris Yeltsin, before leading an attempted coup in 1993, according to The National Interest publication. 

Col Alexander Rutskoy of USSR Air Force Shot Down Over Pakistan

In 1986, the F-16s of the Pakistan Air Force's No. 9 Griffin and 14 Shaheen squadrons began flying combat air patrols along the Afghan border. That year.  The Soviet and Afghan forces began a series of offensives targeting mujahideen bases in the Panjshir valley, supported with intensified bombardments of refugee camps.  Here's an excerpt from The National Interest report on the subject: 

"By 1987, Soviets records indicate that Pakistani fighters had begun roaming into Afghan airspace—particularly harassing efforts to provide aerial resupply to besieged garrisons like Khost, only ten miles across the border. On March 30, 1987 two F-16s intercepted an An-26 twin-turboprop cargo plane near Khost, each striking it with one Sidewinder from just under a mile away. The ponderous cargo plane crashed into the snowy mountains below, killing all 39 aboard. Over the course of the conflict, Pakistani F-16 pilots also claimed the destruction of several Mi-8 transports helicopter, another An-26 on a reconnaissance mission in 1989, and a maneuver kill versus an An-24 transport which was actually attempting to defect..........On November 3, 1988 the PAF would bag its final jet kill when Lt. Khalid Mahmood shot down a DRAAF Su-2M4K. Pakistan formally credits its F-16 pilots with 10 kills during the conflict, while Soviet records confirm the loss of three Su-22s, an Su-25 and An-26. Some sources claim the PAF shot down at least a dozen more aircraft during the Soviet war in Afghanistan which ostensibly were not formally credited because they involved violations of Afghan airspace".  

Pakistan took enormous risks in the 1980s by supporting and providing sanctuaries to the Afghan Mujahideen insurgents who fought the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Pakistan Air Force took on the Soviet Air Force and shot down several Russian fighter aircraft in dogfights. Pakistanis did this knowing that the US provided no security guarantees to Pakistan. Are Poland and Romania, both NATO members, willing to take such risks? Would the United States allow these NATO members to risk a broader war with Russia? Here's an excerpt from an article by Bruce Riedel, senior fellow and director of the Brookings Intelligence Project. It is titled "Could Ukraine Be Putin's Afghanistan?":

"Being the frontline state behind the mujahideen brought considerable risk and danger for Pakistan. The Russians supported Pakistani dissidents who organized terror attacks inside the country including hijacking Pakistani civilian aircraft and attempts to assassinate Zia (who died in a suspicious plane crash in 1988). Pakistani fighters engaged Soviet aircraft in dogfights. The Pakistani tribal border areas became dangerous and unruly. A Kalashnikov culture emerged that still haunts Pakistan today". 

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Bob Kallio said...

how many Soviet kills does US has to its name?

Same number the Soviets have against the US. Air to air.


Riaz Haq said...

#US Sec of State #Kissinger to #Indian FM in 1976: "#Pakistan cannot balance conventional weapons. If they get 10, 15 #nuclear weapons, it will bring equality between #India & Pakistan. Your acquisition of nuclear equipment has created (this) situation"

f I were the Prime Minister of Pakistan, I would do what (Zulfiqar Ali) Bhutto is doing."

US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger made the remarks in a meeting with Indian Foreign Minister Yashwant Rao Chavan in the wake of pressure from the United States not to build a nuclear weapon on Pakistan following India's nuclear test.

The conversation stems from a secret memo that is one of thousands of leaked US foreign policy documents.

During the meeting in New York on the morning of October 8, 1976, Kissinger added, "The strange thing is that Pakistan cannot balance conventional weapons. If they get 10, 15 nuclear weapons, it will bring equality between India and Pakistan. Your acquisition of nuclear equipment has created a situation in which, once again, an equation that is not possible with conventional weapons is

But despite all this, the US attitude towards Pakistan in acquiring nuclear weapons remained strong.

"We are trying to get him (Pakistan) to give up this idea," Kissinger told the Indian foreign minister. I have told Pakistanis that if they are willing to give up their nuclear program, we will be able to increase their supply of conventional weapons.

India and Pakistan's nuclear advance spans nearly fifty years. Thousands of U.S. documents leaked over the past half-century show that Washington has always had a soft spot for India in its journey to acquire nuclear weapons, but for Pakistan, such as pressure, aid cuts and other sanctions. Steps taken.

India and Pakistan's nuclear advance spans nearly fifty years. Thousands of U.S. documents leaked over the past half-century show that Washington has always had a soft spot for India in its journey to acquire nuclear weapons, but for Pakistan, such as pressure, aid cuts and other sanctions. Steps taken.

Whether it was Bhutto's government or General Zia-ul-Haq who overthrew him, these problems were solved only when the US needed Pakistan.

India built its first research reactor in 1956 with the help of Canada and the first plutonium reprocessing plant in 1964, while Pakistan set up the Atomic Energy Commission in 1956 with the idea that it would be an 'atom for peace' announced by the Eisenhower administration. 'Participated in the program.

In 1960, when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto became Minister of Minerals and Natural Resources in Ayub Khan's cabinet, Dr. Ishrat H. Usmani was appointed Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission.

Osmani initiated many important programs and founded institutions. One of his main tasks was to train talented young people and send them abroad for training.

In mid-1965, Bhutto vowed to equal India's nuclear capability: 'If India makes a bomb, we will eat grass or leaves, we will go to bed hungry, but we have to make our own bomb. We have no other choice.

But later that year, after banning arms supplies to Pakistan, President Lyndon Johnson cut off US military aid to Pakistan in the wake of the Pakistan-India war.

In the next 16 years, until 1982, Pakistan received very little help from the United States.

On September 9, 1965, US Secretary of State Dan Rusk sent a memorandum to President Johnson stating, "The bitterness between Pakistan and India makes it extremely difficult to maintain good relations with both countries. If we had to choose one of these, India would be better off because of its huge population, industrial base, democracy and other capabilities. However, we can never fully support the policy goals of India or Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Stinging Rebukes


Visiting Scholar, Center for International Studies, University of Southern California

It is unfortunate that Milton Bearden, in an otherwise informative article ("Afghanistan, Graveyard of Empires," November/December 2001), repeats the tired myth that the Stinger antiaircraft missile "changed the course of the war" in Afghanistan in the 1980s, forced the Red Army to withdraw, and thereby led to "a cataclysm for the Soviets." This story is incorrect in virtually every respect.

Archival evidence now shows that Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev decided to withdraw from Afghanistan a year before the mujahideen fired their first Stinger in September 1986. The Stingers, moreover, had no lasting military impact in Afghanistan and thus could not possibly have chased the Red Army out. The missiles did make an impact in their initial few months -- shooting down dozens of Soviet and Afghan aircraft and compelling others to abandon their missions or to fly so high as to be ineffective. Soon, however, Soviet technical and tactical countermeasures largely nullified the effects. Soviet aircraft were retrofitted with flares, beacons, and exhaust baÛes to disorient the missiles, and Soviet pilots operated at night or employed terrain-hugging tactics to prevent the rebels from getting a clear shot. The best evidence that the Stingers were rendered ineffective is that the mujahideen had all but stopped firing them by 1988, despite continued receipt of hundreds more from the CIA. Instead, the rebels sold the missiles in international arms markets or squirreled them away for future use. (Some have reportedly been fired at U.S. aircraft during the latest hostilities.)

Finally, the Soviets were hardly bled out of Afghanistan. Gorbachev merely used the rhetoric of a bleeding wound to win domestic support for the decision to withdraw. His real motivation for that decision, by all authoritative accounts, was to achieve the lifting of U.S. sanctions, especially on technology transfer, which he viewed as important to his goal of domestic economic restructuring, or perestroika.

Now more than ever, it is essential to put to rest the myth of the Stinger missile, which not only distorts history but offers misleading lessons. The key to victory in our current war is likely to be not some fancy high-tech weapon but rather persistence on the ground in the face of sustained, low-level casualties.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan showcased its latest defense equipment at its annual Pakistan Day Parade on Wednesday, highlighting ongoing efforts to maintain a credible conventional deterrent against India.

One notable element of the parade including aerial displays, which this year began with an F-16C Block 52 escorted by a pair of newly inducted Chinese J-10C Firebird fighters. Three Firebird fighters from an initial order of 25 are believed to be in Pakistan.

Kaiser Tufail, an analyst who previously flew the F-16 during his military career, thinks the Firebird was a good choice for the Pakistan Air Force.

“The J-10, being in the class of the F-16C Block 52 in terms of range and weapons payload, it was the obvious choice for adding to the numbers of PAF’s [fourth-generation-plus] fighters,” he said.

However, he added, “any acquisition from [the United States] under the current ‘cold’ relationship was neither possible nor feasible.”

He also believes the acquisition was an “appropriate response” to India’s Rafale purchase. Although Pakistan has historically been a committed French customer, the high costs of that country’s hardware encouraged Islamabad to look to Beijing, “an old and trusted friend.”

He also said the J-10C and Rafale are comparable due to the former’s active electronically scanned array radar and PL-15 beyond visual range air-to-air missile.

“While the radar and [beyond visual range] missile capabilities of the Rafale and J-10 are highly classified, it is fair to say that they have broadly similar capabilities,” he noted. “With no possibility of [the Pakistan Air Force] being able to upgrade its [advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles] to the longer-ranged versions, the PL-15 is considered the right antidote to the Rafale’s Meteor.”

The Firebird is also a high-end complement to the more numerous JF-17 jets.

“The J-10 is by no means a substitute to the JF-17, as it is in a different class altogether. With more range and weapons payload, the J-10 forms the ‘high’ end of the high-low mix, with the JF-17 workhorse performing the bulk of ‘routine’ operations. Both types can also be perfectly ‘paired,’ as both share many avionics, data link and [electronic warfare] capabilities,” Tufail explained.

Other new equipment showcased during the parade included the Chinese-supplied SH-15 155mm truck-mounted howitzer and HQ-9P long-range air defense system, as well as the indigenous Shahpar-2 combat drone.

The SH-15 has a maximum reported firing range of about 53 kilometers, making it Pakistan’s longest-range tube artillery system, and helping the country standardize on a single caliber along with its U.S.-supplied M109 and M198 howitzers.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a think tank that tracks arms sales, has not listed the HQ-9P in Pakistan’s inventory, and the Asian nation has not officially confirmed its acceptance into the military. SIPRI does, however, list the CH-3.

Raja Khan, who leads drone-maker Integrated Dynamics, previously told Defense News the Burraq was locally developed based on the configuration of a 1970s kit plane designed by Burt Rutan. China helped rig the finished product with missiles, but then copied and exported it as the CH-3.

The Shahpar-2 is a larger and more heavily armed combat UAV based on the same design lineage.

Despite Pakistan’s ability to domestically develop UAVs, the country still purchases Chinese and Turkish drones. None were on display.

The parade was witnessed by foreign ministers from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, who are attending a conference in Islamabad.

Riaz Haq said...

China ramps up arms exports to Pakistan, aiming to squeeze India
Beijing and Islamabad grow closer with eye on mutual rival

BEIJING/NEW DELHI -- From the sale of stealth fighters to submarines, China is accelerating its defense cooperation with Pakistan in a bid to exert pressure on India, a rival in border disputes with both.

China is believed to want to expand its influence in South Asia while the U.S. and Europe are focused on the war in Ukraine. Beijing "stands ready to provide assistance within its capacity for Pakistan to overcome difficulties and recover its economy," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in a Tuesday meeting, according to China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Khan expressed hopes for joint achievements and cooperation "in all fields," the ministry said. Ukraine was among the other topics discussed.

China this month delivered six J-10CE fighter jets to Pakistan, the Communist Party-affiliated Global Times has reported. An update to China's homegrown J-10s, they are a key part of the Chinese air force and often fly into Taiwan's air defense identification zone.

The J-10CE is a so-called 4.5-generation fighter, placing it somewhere between the F-15s used widely by Japan and the U.S. and F-35 stealth fighters in terms of capability. The delivered jets later took part in a military parade in Pakistan.

Pakistan this month is also adding 50 new JF-17 fighters, which were developed jointly with China. They do not match the performance of the J-10CE but do come with near-stealth capability.

India recently deployed the Russian S-400 missile defense system with an eye toward Pakistan. China looks to bolster its response to potential Indian air operations through greater cooperation with Pakistan.

China is actively contributing to improvements in Pakistan's navy as well, concerned that the Indian military could wield greater clout in key Indo-Pacific sea lanes. Pakistan in January inducted a Chinese-built Type 054 frigate, which is designed for anti-surface, anti-air and anti-submarine warfare.

"Pakistan is reportedly also planning to purchase from China eight submarines, which Pakistan is positioning as the 'backbone of the Navy,'" Japan's Ministry of Defense said in its 2021 white paper. "Four will be built in China, with the remainder to be built in Pakistan."

Sino-Indian relations have deteriorated since the deadly 2020 border clash in the Himalayas. India also announced a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics at the last minute after a Chinese soldier who had been involved in the fighting was chosen as a torchbearer.

Chinese President Xi Jinping invited Khan to the Olympics' opening ceremony. At a Feb. 6 summit, Xi told Khan that bilateral ties had gained greater strategic significance amid global turbulence and transformation. He expressed firm support for Pakistan's sovereignty -- a likely signal that China stands with Pakistan in the latter's own border dispute with India.

Khan expressed hopes for greater cooperation with China. No force can stop China's advance, he said.

Riaz Haq said...

Russian Influence on India’s Military Doctrines > Air University (AU)

By Vipin Narang

In terms of doctrine and strategy, although it may be difficult to trace direct influence and lineage between Russia and India, there are several pieces in India’s conventional and nuclear strategy that at least mirror Russia’s behavior. On the conventional side, the core formation in the quick-strike concept known as “Cold Start” or “proactive strategy options” was modeled on the Russian formation known as the “operational maneuver group” (OMG). The idea was to have a formation that could be rapidly assembled from tank and armored divisions that could break through reinforced defenses—NATO for Russia, and Pakistan’s I and II Corps in the plains and desert sectors for India.

On the nuclear side, India is currently seized with the same dilemma the Soviet Union was during the Cold War: both NATO and Pakistan threaten battlefield nuclear weapons against conventional thrusts (India, at least, presumably would be retaliating following a Pakistan-backed provocation). While both states refined their conventional concept of operations, there may have also been corresponding adjustments to their nuclear strategies. It was long believed that, in response to NATO threats to use nuclear weapons first on the battlefield, the Soviet Union had strong preemptive counterforce elements in its strategy to try to at least disarm the United States of its strategic nuclear weapons for damage limitation. It is increasingly evident that at least some serious Indian officials are interested in developing the same sort of option: preemptive counterforce against Pakistan’s strategic nuclear forces, both for damage limitation and to reopen India’s conventional superiority. It is no surprise perhaps, then, that India chose to go ahead with acquiring Russia’s S-400 missile and air defense system, despite the threat of Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) sanctions from the United States: the S-400 is key to India’s damage limitation strategy, capable of potentially intercepting residual ballistic and cruise missiles that a counterforce strike might miss.