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Saturday, December 31, 2011

PAF F-16A clean sweep Typhoon

A special feature posted on the PAF Falcons web site provides a fascinating transcript of a one-on-one interview with an anonymous, although apparently very senior, Pakistani Air Force F-16 pilot. It reminds me of YouTube Terry's infamous indiscretions.

The Pakistani pilot manages to embarrass the pride of the Royal Air Force, candidly describe Israeli air-to-air prowess and explain how the US keeps the F-16 Block 52's secrets away from the Pakistanis and -- by extension -- the Chinese.

On the RAF Typhoon:

On one occasion - in one of the international Anatolian Eagles - PAF pilots were pitted against RAF Typhoons, a formidable aircraft. There were three set-ups and in all three, we shot down the Typhoons. The RAF pilots were shocked.

Q: Any particular reason for your success?

A: NATO pilots are not that proficient in close-in air-to-air combat. They are trained for BVR engagements and their tactics are based on BVR engagements. These were close-in air combat exercises and we had the upper hand because close-in air combat is drilled into every PAF pilot and this is something we are very good at.

On the Israelis:

Q: What are the Isrealis afraid of?

A: What they fear most is that we might learn about their tactics, especially BVR countermeasure tactics, which they have mastered.

Q: I heard a rumour that the TuAF once gave PAF pilots the opportunity to fly with and against the Israelis in A. TuAF F-16s pretending to be Turkish pilots - even letting them sit in the Turkish-Israeli ACMI de-briefs?

A: No comments.

On US concerns about the Chinese:

To recall an interesting little story: soon after the first F-16s were delivered to Pakistan in the mid-80s, the PLAAF Chief visited Sargodha. The Americans were there as well. As a gesture of courtesy, the PAF showed the PLAAF Chief one of the F-16s and let him sit in the cockpit. Some US technicians were there looking on. As soon as the PLAAF Chief sat in the F-16 cockpit, the first thing he did was to start measuring the HUD with his fingers, you know, when you extend your little finger and thumb to measure something? This worried the Americans.

On US export control practices:

They have ways of keeping an eye on the Block 52s without being personally present. The main concern is the transfer of cutting-edge technology - the avionics and radar, the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) the Sniper pod. They have put digital seals all the sensitive technologies, which can only be opened via a code, which only they know. If there is a malfunction or these parts need to be serviced, they will be taken out of the Block 52s and shipped back to the US for repairs/servicing. If we try to pry open these systems without the codes, inbuilt alarms will be relayed to the Americans, which will be a breach of the contract.

Q: Will the Americans be able to track the locations of the Block 52s through some sort of tracking devices hidden inside the aircraft?

A: If there are tracking devices then they will be inside the sealed systems, like the avionics suites or the sniper pods because we will not have the ability to look inside. If their Predator and Reaper drones are transmitting their GPS locations via satellite so can a Block 52 F-16.

Even though Turkey produces the F-16, there are some components that are manufactured in the US and only come to Turkey for the final assembly. In one incident, a Turkish Block 50 crashed and the pilot was killed. They salvaged the wreckage and laid it out in hanger and started putting together the pieces to find out the cause. They found a piece of sealed equipment which had cracked open and inside they found some device that looked like a bug. Upon inquiry, it turned out to be a tracking device.









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