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India’s MiG-21 upgraded by Russia equal to Pakistan’s F-16, says analyst

The MiG-21 has an onboard radar and a wider range of guided air-to-air missiles, editor-in-chief of National Defense magazine Igor Korotchenko recalled
MiG-21 fighter jet Marina Lystseva/TASS
MiG-21 fighter jet
© Marina Lystseva/TASS

MOSCOW, March 1. /TASS/. India’s MiG-21 fighter upgraded by Russia possesses combat capabilities identical to those of the F-16 of Pakistan’s Air Force, the editor-in-chief of National Defense magazine, Igor Korotchenko, said about recent clashes involving these planes.

An air fight between the planes of the two types occurred on the Indian-Pakistani border on February 28. At least one MiG-21 was shot down. The pilot ejected himself and was taken prisoner by Pakistan. According to the Indian Air Force, in the same clash another MiG-21 shot down Pakistan’s F-16 of US manufacture. Pakistan has not confirmed the loss of the plane so far.

"The MiG-21, upgraded by Russia has an onboard radar and a wider range of guided air-to-air missiles. By its combat capabilities and flight parameters it is an equal of the F-16 version at the disposal of Pakistan’s Air Force," Korotchenko said.

India’s MiG-21-93 fighters, eventually named MiG-21UGP Bison, were upgraded to be equipped with a new radar, wider range of weapons, modern indicators on the windshield, helmet-mounted sights and multifunctional display screens in the cockpit. The coating reduces radar visibility. The plane’s life cycle and endurance have been prolonged.

On February 28, India’s NDTV broadcaster said that 24 planes of Pakistan’s Air Force and eight Indian planes, including four Sukhoi-30MKI and two MiG-21 participated in a clash over Kashmir. Korotchenko said if that was really so, the incident was evidence of the high professionalism of Indian pilots, good control of the equipment and competent air fight tactics.

India-Pakistan air clash

Tensions in relations between India and Pakistan soared when a convoy of Indian military came under attack on February 14 in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, which claimed 45 lives. The group calling itself Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility.

On February 26, India carried out an attack against a camp of this group in the Pakistan-controlled part of Kashmir. On February 27, Pakistan’s planes attacked military targets in Jammu and Kashmir. New Delhi and Islamabad claimed that each other’s planes had been shot down.