Indian Air Force MiG-21 Bison Shot Down By Pakistan Air Force Jet

Indian Air Force MiG-21 Bison (Image credit: Jyotirmoy Moulick)

An Indian MiG-21 was shot down earlier today by the Pakistan Air Force.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has admitted loss of a MiG-21 Bison, shot down by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) during an engagement over the ceasefire line in disputed Kashmir. The MiG-21 pilot was arrested.

The clashes come a day after IAF Mirage 2000s flew across the LoC (Line of Control) to carry out an air strike on terror bases in Balakot using Israeli SPICE 2000 EO/GPS-guided stand-off 2000-lb PGMs (Precision Guided Munitions).

How the aerial engagement unfold is still unclear.

According to some sources, the IAF MiG-21 were launched in response to PAF strikes earlier in the morning. Islamabad claims at least two IAF fighters crossed LOC and were both shot down by PAF fighters inside Pakistani airspace.

As mentioned, the Indian authorities have admitted loss of just one fighter. Moreover, India claims that a MiG-21 was able to shoot down a Pakistani jet that crashed in Pakistan. However, such claim is not backed by any evidence yet.

Images of a crashed Indian Air Force Mi-17V-5 transport helicopter also circulated the social media. At the time of writing there hasn’t been any official confirmation yet as to whether the chopper was shot down or not.

Another detail that has not been confirmed yet is the type of jet that downed the Bison: some sources says it was an F-16 others say it was a JF-17 Thunder.

The JF-17 is a lightweight, single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft developed from a joint venture between the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) of China. It’s considered a 4th Gen. fighter If confirmed, this would be the first kill of an aircraft by the JF-17 (the Thunder shot down an Iranian spy drone in 2017).

The Pakistan Air Force JF-17 Thunder (Photo: PAC/CAC)

On the other side, the MiG-21 Bison is an upgraded version of the Russian-made baseline MiG-21. Although the design is obsolete, its low radar visibility, instantaneous turn rate and acceleration, and the helmet mounted sight combined with high-off-boresight R-73 air-to-air missiles are among the factors that can make the upgraded MiG-21 a threatening adversary, even for more modern fighters.

Anyway, for the moment, heavy disinformation war aside (with social media engulfed by fake videos, images, unconfirmed claims etc.), the tension between India and Pakistan has led to local skirmishes and remains more or less controlled, with no signs of dangerous, imminent escalation.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.