MUST READ: Tell-all interview with Pakistan Viper pilot

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?
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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4 Responses to MUST READ: Tell-all interview with Pakistan Viper pilot

  1. Aussie Digger 7 June, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    Or as a more reasonable person might describe it:

    1. This isn’t any “senior” officer, but a pilot who happened to be on an exchange program with the Turkish airforce and of course is entitled to his own opinion. This story has been on Key Forums for months.

    2. The PAF and RAF aircraft were conducting DACT – Dissimilar air combat training. PAF were the Blue force. RAF were the Red force. Red force was meant to die and was representing a particular threat for the purposes of the exercise, this threat was not the RAF and the Eurofighter’s full capability or even their tactics.

    3. Big deal. The Israelis fly DACT against the Turks all the time. So what? Again, full tactics and capabilities aren’t revealed in exercises, so they are hardly a judge of capability except in the minds of fanbois.

    4. Said this on Key Forums months ago. Concerned about what data is escaping your network and potentially revealing things to others that you do not wish? Time to get into packet-sniffing and spoofing guys…

  2. nichomach 9 June, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

    A bit of fact checking would reveal that the RAF have never put Typhoons into an AE when the PAF were present. The RAF went to AE 07/2, where Pakistan were present, but sent GR4 Tornadoes not Typhoons. The RAF sent six Typhoons to AE-09/2 but Pakistan were not present at AE-09/2. Consequently, I call bullshit.

  3. Sprucemoose 14 June, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    Just to build on Aussie Digger’s comments, a well-placed source has told me the following:
    “None of the RAF Typhoon pilots involved in Ex Anatolian Eagle recalls undertaking Basic Fighter Manoeuvres with Turkish air force F-16s flown by Pakistan exchange pilots.” So if a “kill” is claimed, it took place under exercise conditions where it was supposed to happen, and from distance but within visual range; not dogfighting!

  4. Garibaldi 2 August, 2011 at 2:38 am #

    Alan Warnes, editor of the British AFM(Airforces Monthly Magazine) wrote about this in a recent issue. The PAF pilot is misquoted, according to Warnes the incident did happen but it was Italian Eurofighters.

    I believe it was the June 2011 AFM issue, or perhaps the May one. And he’s also discussed this on his twitter account.

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