In Case You Didn’t Know, There Exists A Pakistani “Top Gun” Movie Featuring PAF JF-17 Thunders vs IAF Mirage 2000s

A screenshot of an air combat scene from Pakistani "Sher Dil" movie via YT video below.

Here’s a scene from a movie that someone has dubbed “Pakistan’s response to Top Gun”.

Disclaimer: I’ve not watched the whole movie so I have no idea what the rest looks like. You can find plenty of reviews online, though.

“Sher Dil” (Urdu for “Lion Heart”) is a Pakistani action movie released on Mar. 22, 2019.

The film tells the story of a young pilot, Haris Mustafa, the grandson of Pakistan Air Force hero pilot who died in a PAF F-86 Sabre during clashes with Indian Gnat fighters in 1965. The young Mustafa wants to become a combat pilot so he joins the PAF Academy and, long story short, he eventually becomes a fighter jock flying the JF-17 Thunder, Pakistan’s most advanced combat aircraft.

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).

One of the scenes of Sher Dil, a movie that some Asian media outlets called “Pakistan’s response to Top Gun” shows a dogfight between two PAF JF-17s and two Indian Air Force Mirage 2000s, a scene that may bring to your mind what happened earlier in the morning in the skies over Kashmir during clashes between Indian and Pakistani jets on Feb. 26-27, 2019.

As you may recall, the Indian Air Force launched airstrikes on terror camps across the Line of Control at the border between India and Pakistan. The raid was carried out in response to the suicide attack that killed 40 CPRF (Central Reserve Police Force – the largest of India’s Central Armed Police Forces) soldiers earlier that month. As a consequence of the Indian air strikes, the Pakistani launched retaliatory raids across the Line Of Control (LoC). During such missions, IAF and PAF jets were involved in aerial clashes over Kashmir whose outcomes are still unclear.

All the details of what happened in those days are contested, so much so it’s impossible to get a clear idea of what has really happened based on a lot of conflicting claims. While some of these could be easily debunked, others couldn’t be verified. We are not even sure a certain kind of aircraft took part to the skirmishes or not, even though both sides provided pretty detailed accounts.

As explained back then, the only fact, that has been confirmed by both sides, is that an IAF MiG-21 Bison was shot down and its pilot captured by the Pakistani forces. We don’t even know for sure which kind of aircraft downed the Indian Fishbed derivative: some sources claim if was a JF-17 Thunder, others say it was an F-16.

With this in mind, the Sher Dil scene below shows two IAF Mirage 2000s intruding into Pakistani airspace and causing the PAF to scramble two JF-17s to intercept them. The short clip is interesting as it provides a glimpse into Minhas Airbase, located to the northwest of Islamabad, homebase to the 16(MR)sq “Black Panthers” of the Pakistani Air Force. Unfortunately, after the 00:47 mark, all the flying scene is CGI. Still, the initial footage, that shows the pilots scrambling to the jets, strapping into the cockpit and taking off for the intercept mission, show the JF-17 Thunder pilots’ helmet, flight gear, patches and some other pretty rare and cool details.

In this case, the outcome of the aerial engagement is clear but if you read some reviews, you’ll find out that Sher Dil, released less than one month after the clashes over Kashmir, is more a story of cameraderie and unexpected friendship between Pakistani and Indian pilots than war between the two rival nations.

H/T Gordon Bradbury for the heads-up!


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.