Four months after the spectacular 90-second aerial dogfight with Pakistani F-16s, the Indian Air Force is planning to fit Israeli missiles on the Sukhois in its fleet, says a latest media report. According to the NDTV report, IAF was stunned by use of AIM-120 C5 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs) by Pakistan. The long range missile was fired from the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. Taking a lesson from the aerial combat, the IAF has reportedly decided to take the crucial step. The report quotes an unnamed source in the IAF as saying that India already have the Israeli missiles as part of the SPYDER system. The only logical step now is to fit these I-Derby missiles on the Sukhois.
The I-Derby missiles, which were unveiled in 2015 Paris Air Show, will need more sophisticated integration plan. According to defence portal Aviation Week, the new variant, “is equipped with a new seeker that employs an advanced solid-state Software Defined Radar (SDR), based on combat proven technology derived from the Tamir missile, the interceptor used in RAFAEL’s Iron Dome system.”
“The new seeker is lighter and more compact than its predecessor, thus clearing valuable space which has been used by the missile designers to increase the propulsion system by adding a second mode (kick), accelerating the missile at the terminal phase of the flight. This new addition increases the range of the I-Derby ER beyond 100 km., significantly more than its current “short/medium” range capability,” it added.
Giving out the details of the February 27 events, Air Vice Marshal Ravi Kapoor had said that, “at around 1000 hrs IAF radars detected a large package of PAF aircraft heading towards the Indian territory towards general area Jhangar.” Various media reports had said that the ‘large package’ of the Pakistan Air Force consisted as many as 24 fighter jets. According to an NDTV report, that Pakistan’s strike squad included eight F-16s, four Mirage-3 aircraft, four Chinese made JF-17 "Thunder" fighter.
What ensued on that fateful day was Wg Cdr Varthaman chasing down the F-16 and ultimately shooting it down. All this lasted for just 90 seconds, says The Hindustan Times report. But this dogfight in the Subcontinental skies will go down in the history of aviation as not just an unparalleled feat but also proves the superb training at skills of the Indian Air Force pilot. Just like Pakistan's F-16 fighter jet, MiG-21 has been continuously upgraded and witnessed extensive combat use by nations that purchased them from the US and the USSR, later Russia.